Brinkley gets shot to show he can cover

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2012 - 12:05 AM
Our snapshot look at the Vikings as they prepare for Sunday's game against the 49ers at Mall of America Field:

PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT

There have been worries about linebacker Jasper Brinkley's abilities in pass coverage. That was a major concern in July as the Vikings headed into training camp with Brinkley inked in as their starting middle linebacker. Now, with Erin Henderson ruled out for Sunday because of a concussion and Brinkley inheriting Henderson's snaps in the nickel defense, there will be plenty of pressure this weekend. Brinkley, who missed all of 2011 because of a hip injury, doesn't want to be pigeon-holed as a guy who is only reliable against the run. So here's his opportunity.

"This will be his chance to show his teammates along with everyone else that, 'Ya know what, I can do more than play on first and second downs,' " coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.

Keep in mind, the 49ers have one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in football. Vernon Davis has eight catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns already this season.

Marvin Mitchell, who will start at weak-side linebacker in place of Henderson, also will be under the microscope, seeing his first regular-season action with the Vikings.

MOST PRESSING QUESTION

Can the Vikings find a way to contain Justin Smith?

There might not be a defensive lineman in the NFL more consistently disruptive than Smith, a 12th-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowl player. Smith has started 173 consecutive games and remains a force up front in San Francisco's 3-4 defense.

"He's so strong," Frazier said. "And he plays so physical that it's hard to single-block him for any length of time. Even if you have pretty good position, he does a good job of using his hands, working his feet. And his power? It's impressive."

Left guard Charlie Johnson will line up across from Smith for much of Sunday. But Johnson rarely will be left alone in trying to slow down the 49ers end.

"We haven't seen anyone just block one guy on him and say, 'You're going to handle Justin throughout four quarters,'" Frazier said. "We don't think we're in that position either."

KEEP AN EYE ON ...

If you're into placekicking, Sunday's game should be a treat. San Francisco's David Akers led the NFL in scoring in 2011, making a league-best 44 field goals in 52 attempts. Akers started 2012 with even more fireworks, tying an NFL-record with his 63-yard field goal just before halftime of a Week 1 victory at Green Bay.

Vikings rookie Blair Walsh, meanwhile, has been plenty reliable himself. He has hit all six of his field goal attempts so far, including bombs from 55 and 51 yards in the first two weeks.

Walsh has also had 11 kickoffs this season with seven touchbacks and only one returned beyond the 20.

49ERS SCOOP

Chew on these statistics for a minute. San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith hasn't throw an interception since the first half of a Thanksgiving night loss to Baltimore last season. Smith has thrown just five interceptions in 502 passing attempts since the start of 2011.

The Vikings defense, meanwhile, has come up with just two picks in its past 13 games, a woeful drought that needs to end soon.

So just how does Smith account for his noticeable growth the past two seasons?

"I'm not trying to do too much, which I had done in the past early on in my career," Smith said. "Just doing my job and not trying to force things."

INJURIES AND FINES

Henderson's concussion is by far the most significant injury. The starting linebacker banged his head making a tackle on Indianapolis' second-to-last drive last weekend. He was formally diagnosed with a concussion Wednesday and will have to wait until next week for clearance.

The only other Vikings starters listed on the injury report are John Sullivan (ankle), Brian Robison (elbow) and Chris Cook (biceps), who are all probable.

In the fine department, both Brinkley and Matt Kalil incurred $7,875 punishments for unnecessary roughness in Week 2. Kalil drew a 15-yard personal foul flag for his third-quarter late hit on Martin Tevaseu. Brinkley was involved in an early scrap with Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in which he aggressively grabbed Allen's facemask but then had his helmet ripped off. Allen drew the penalty on the play, but both players were fined.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 4 Bottom 7th Inning
San Francisco 11
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 3rd Prd
Arizona 1
Washington 2 2nd Prd 2:12
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 17 4th Qtr 0:14
Penn State 14
(20) USC 14 3rd Qtr
(19) Utah 10
(14) Arizona State 0 2nd Qtr 14:29
Washington 0
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 2nd Half 35:00
Vancouver FC 0
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday in Tampa Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close