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Minnesota Vikings sign Jasper Brinkley, courting Jameel McClain

These two linebackers visited the Buffalo Bills last week, but the Bills may need to look elsewhere for a middle linebacker with Minnesota perhaps pouncing on both.

Stephen Brashear

Last week, the Buffalo Bills hosted two visiting free agent linebackers at One Bills Drive. Jameel McClain, formerly of Baltimore, stopped by on Wednesday, and the next day Jasper Brinkley (formerly of Minnesota by way of Arizona) made the rounds in Orchard Park.

The Minnesota Vikings apparently took notice, because they signed Brinkley to a one-year deal on Sunday, and will reportedly be hosting McClain on a free agent visit on Monday.

McClain also visited the New York Giants last week.

The fact that Buffalo is hosting this type of player indicates that they're looking for an early-down middle linebacker for the 4-3 defense being installed by new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. If they're able to land such a player, it would allow second-year pro Kiko Alonso to kick out to the weak side, where in theory he will have more space to make plays and will take less of a beating.

NFL free agency does not open until 4PM ET on Tuesday, but because Brinkley and McClain had contracts terminated by clubs roughly two weeks ago - and are therefore not waiting for their contracts to expire to become free agents, like most of the bigger names on the market - they're free to sign anywhere, any time.