The Vikings reached a contract agreement with the second of their five draft picks today, signing fifth-round linebacker Jasper Brinkley. The announcement came on the Vikings website and terms were not disclosed.
Brinkley, taken 150th overall in the April draft, had 193 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and three interceptions in 30 games (29 starts) at South Carolina. Brinkley earned all-SEC second-team honors last season after missing much of the 2007 season after tearing his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.
The Vikings thought enough of Brinkley that they traded a fifth- and seventh-round pick to Washington in order to move up in the fifth round and grab him. The Vikings project Brinkley as the backup to E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker, a position they had to scramble to fill last season after Henderson was lost early in the season because of injury. Brinkley also should play a significant role on special teams this season.
Brinkley joins seventh-round safety Jamarca Sanford, who signed a four-year deal with the Vikings last week. The Vikings, who open training-camp practices on July 31, still must reach agreements with first-round wide receiver Percy Harvin, second-round offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and third-round cornerback Asher Allen.