There aren’t too many reasons to feel good about the Minnesota Vikings’ performance against the Dallas Cowboys. Brett Jones represents one of the rare exceptions. Indeed, the veteran lineman played well. That being said, many fans have likely been asking themselves: who is Brett Jones and how did he get to the NFL? Fortunately, a short documentary about the Minnesota Vikings’ backup center is available on YouTube.
From the True North
Part of the reason why Jones enjoys playing in Minnesota is because it reminds him of home. Jones is from Weyburn, Saskatchewan. On Weyburn’s webpage, they provide a helpful handbook for their new residents. It explains that the temperature in January goes down to -18.8 degrees C. In American lingo, that would be -1.84 degrees F. Being from Canada, I can confirm that Saskatchewan is indeed very cold.
Growing up, Jones’ priority wasn’t to become a professional football player. The football program at Weyburn Comprehensive High School isn’t particularly prestigious. Nevertheless, Jones found an opportunity to play, and he eventually impressed the defensive line coach for the University of Regina’s football team.
At the University of Regina, Jones thrived. He attributes a lot of his success to the fact that he got to practice against Chicago DT Akiem Hicks. His coaches explain that no one on the team could compete against Hicks except for Jones.
Even after thriving at the University of Regina, Jones still didn’t prioritize a career in professional football. He told teams before the Canadian Football League draft that if he was accepted to go to medical school that he’d promptly quit football. Jones believes that this is why he lasted until the 16th pick of the 2nd round in the CFL draft.
Jones played well for the Calgary Stampeders. Not only did he win a Grey Cup, Jones also won the awards for Most Outstanding Rookie and Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. This success led to his opportunity with the New York Giants.
Jones’ NFL Start
Pro Football Focus has always been complementary of Jones’ play. During his initial opportunity with the Giants, Jones put forth an elite pass blocking grade, per PFF. His run blocking was solid but unspectacular. In all likelihood, the less-than-stellar run blocking has been what has kept Jones off the field in Minnesota. After Sunday’s performance, the Vikings may want to reconsider their evaluation.
In the above video, you’ll see Jones put forth a really nice rep in run blocking. He does a nice job of turning the defensive lineman’s shoulders as he gets his body in-between the defender and the runner. Of course, one good rep isn’t reason to keep a player on the field, so it’s worth noting that Jones received strong grades for the game as a whole.
Recently, Joe Johnson argued that the Vikings ought to consider putting Jones at LG once Ezra Cleveland returns from his injury. It’s hard to disagree. Dakota Dozier has largely been underwhelming so far this season, so giving Jones more opportunity certainly makes sense.
Jones has a quiet confidence that lends itself to success in the NFL. One thing that he continually emphasizes is that he needs to seize the opportunity that is given to him. On Sunday, Jones seized the opportunity. His teammates and coaches love him. He works hard and has shown incredible resilience over the past couple of seasons.
Jones has found success wherever he’s gone, whether it was as a high school player in Weyburn, Saskatchewan or as an NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings should see if he can continue this pattern of success by putting him at LG.