MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings need a new man in the middle.

Jasper Brinkley's first criterion for retaining the linebacker job he's inherited is simply to stay healthy.

Brinkley missed all of last season after hip surgery, but when the Vikings decided not to bring back E.J. Henderson this critical role on the defense opened up. Henderson has been the starter at middle linebacker for most of the last decade. He's still a free agent, available in case there's a need.

But the Vikings want the 27-year-old Brinkley to take over. Coach Leslie Frazier says Brinkley has been "moving well" so far in training camp and, most importantly, "hasn't had to be in the training room for any reason."