Vikings ink LB Brinkley

The Vikings are ahead of their normal pace, signing another draft pick before the Fourth of July. This time, it is fifth-round linebacker Jasper Brinkley who is officially a Viking.

The Vikings have signed fifth-round linebacker Jasper Brinkley, according to the team's web site.

Brinkley is the second Vikings draft pick signed, as the team inked safety Jamarca Sanford last week to a four-year deal. That leaves three draftees left to sign, first-round wide receiver Percy Harvin, second-rounder tackle Phil Loadholt and third-round cornerback Asher Allen.

Brinkley, started 29 of 30 games at South Carolina. He finished his career with 193 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions.

As a junior in 2006, he led all SEC linebackers with 107 tackles, along with 14.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks. He started the first four games of 2007 but tore his right lateral collateral ligament. That required surgery and he was granted a medical redshirt.

Brinkley returned to action last year to post 65 tackles, third on the team, five tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. As a senior, Brinkley captured All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors as he started all but one game for the Gamecocks.

The inside linebacker was expected to be drafted a round or two higher, but there were questions about his knee being fully recovered and he needed to continue to drop weight – he lost about 10 pounds between the East-West Shrine game and the NFL Scouting Combine.

"It was one of those situations where everybody kept telling me to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst," Brinkley said about how long it took him to be drafted. "That was the situation it basically turned into."

Vikings officials said they could tell Brinkley was starting to feel better toward the end of the 2008 season, and he agreed that his quickness started to return.

"I got to full speed toward the end of the year," Brinkley said. "You could tell by the way my performance showed – my tackles and sacks started to increase."

At the combine in February, he ran a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash with 26 reps of 225 pounds and a 35½-inch vertical jump.

His contract is likely a four-year deal and should be worth about $1.93 million with a signing bonus likely around $184,000, according to's Adam Caplan.

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