Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jasper Brinkley: 'This is home'

Daniel House caught up with linebacker Jasper Brinkley and learned more about his return back to Minnesota.

Updated: July 30th, 2014 9:49pm

By: Daniel House

Linebacker Jasper Brinkley is back for his second tenure with the Minnesota Vikings and he is glad to have the opportunity to return to where it all started. Brinkley played with the Vikings for four seasons and he was drafted by the team in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft. He left Minnesota in free agency and joined the Arizona Cardinals, where he played last season. Brinkley is thrilled to be back in Minnesota and was happy the opportunity was presented to him.

"It's great. This is home. The first NFL team that gave me the opportunity to come play football and to have the opportunity to come back was great," said Brinkley.

Brinkley joins the Vikings during a new coaching change and a different defensive scheme implementation. The base 4-3 defense has seen Brinkley starting in the middle linebacker during these sets. Brinkley is very excited to be a part of Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme and likes the physicality that is involved with this defense.

"Very physical [this defense]. You definitely have to be an aggressive player to love this defense. There is no turning down on anything, no running around blocks, but running through blocks," Brinkley added.

Brinkley is flourishing the chance to return to Minnesota, while leading the young group of defenders that are on the roster. This is the first time Brinkley has been one of the veterans at the linebacker position group and he is excited to have a leadership role with the Vikings.

"Just come in and be able to lead the younger guys because we have some younger guys. Kind of show them the ropes," Brinkley explained.

Jasper spent the offseason training in preparation for having a big role in the Vikings defense. Brinkley focused on some fundamentals and is looking to improve all the facets you would expect from a linebacker.

"Definitely just being able to get down hill on the run and continuing to get better in pass coverage," Brinkley said.

The Vikings added Mike Zimmer's son, Adam, to coach the linebackers when the staff was formulated in January. Brinkley believes that the father-son relationship helps the linebackers learn and understand the message both coaches are trying to convey.

"Adam has done a great job with us. He's on this stuff just like his dad. We catch it from both ends," Brinkley concluded.

To hear the audio version of this interview, click the play button below:

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