Brinkley could get his shot

Rookie Jasper Brinkley could be getting a shot to start at middle linebacker after E.J. Henderson suffered a fractured femur Sunday night.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said rookie Jasper Brinkley is going to get an opportunity to replace veteran E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker after Henderson suffered a fractured femur in his left leg in Sunday's 30-17 loss at Arizona.

Henderson underwent surgery on Sunday night in Phoenix, and his season is over.

Brinkley, a fifth-round pick out of South Carolina last April, has played on special teams this season and saw some spot duty at linebacker near the end of games when Minnesota has held a comfortable lead.

Now he will be thrust into starting at a key position for a 10-2 team that is poised to win the NFC North and is expected to make a deep playoff run.

"I'm another player who will get an opportunity to go out and show my teammates that I can step in there and take control of the defense and not let the defense skip a beat," Brinkley said.

Brinkley is expected to take over the job of making calls and getting guys lined up in the defense.

Brinkley proved in training camp that he isn't afraid to hit opponents, and that's expected to be one of the things he brings.

"He weighs 260 pounds, and when he hits somebody, he does some damage," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "He's a good player, got a lot of talent, he's worked hard on special teams and been a good player there. He's proven himself to us as veterans. He's a heady guy. He's going to be fine."

NOTES

  • Coach Brad Childress on what he told his players after the Vikings' 30-17 loss to Arizona on Sunday night: "I just didn't think we matched their tempo and urgency in this particular game. I don't know that I've seen that. I certainly wouldn't tell you that in our loss to Pittsburgh. I just don't feel like we had ‘it' tonight. That comes back on me looking at preparation and those type of things."

  • Quarterback Brett Favre on the two third-quarter interceptions he threw against the Cardinals: "We got in a position tonight where, at times, we had to throw the ball. I kind of let their defense get to me. The two picks, they rushed three and dropped eight. It's hard to throw into that. The better decision would have been to not throw it, at least not there. In a game like this, where it is hard to stop their offense from scoring, I don't need to give them any advantage."

  • Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on the aftermath from the defeat: "We're 10-2. We accept where we are. We'll move on from this. We're looking forward to Cincinnati next week. We've got a lot of football and a lot of season left."

  • RG Anthony Herrera has missed the past two games because of a concussion, but he could return Sunday against Cincinnati.

  • SS Tyrell Johnson suffered a concussion against Arizona on Sunday and was replaced by rookie Jamarca Sanford. Johnson will be closely monitored this week and could miss the Bengals game.

  • RT Phil Loadholt missed time in the first half against the Cardinals after injuring his shoulder, but he was able to return.

  • LT Bryant McKinnie left Sunday's game briefly because of an ankle injury but also quickly got back in.

  • CB Antoine Winfield has missed the past six games because of an injury to his right foot, and at this point it's anyone's guess when he will return. Coach Brad Childress said Winfield "just has to be comfortable to go out and play the game like he plays it."


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