The Texas Viking

With the Minnesota Vikings announcing that they have added a year to Defensive End Brian Robison’s contract, it guarantee’s that the gentle giant from Texas will have started and finished his entire career in Minnesota.  While this was a common occurrence prior to the introduction of Free Agency in 1989 (“Plan B” at first, then full free agency in 1992), it is very rare these days for NFL stars and quality starters play their entire career in one city.
 
He was a great Green Bay Packer, but Brett Favre played out the string for the Jets and Vikings.   Marcus Allen was an unforgettable Raider, who finished a Kansas City Chief.   Many other NFL greats would follow suit – Randall McDaniel (Vikings) finished in Tampa Bay, John Randle (Vikings) would play a few final seasons in Seattle, Ryan Longwell (Packers) would wrap-up a career in Minnesota, and the list is endless.
 
But, like Chad Greenway, who retired a few weeks ago as a Viking, Brian stayed loyal to Minnesota, and, in the end, Minnesota stayed loyal to Brian.
 
So, what was so special about Brian Robison that allowed him to remain in one spot during his 10 NFL seasons (and two more to come)?   It is a very poorly kept secret in NFL coaching and GM circles that Brian Robison was a valuable commodity the last few times his contract was expiring, and the Vikings knew the talent they had in Robison and quickly extended him, rather than letting him test the market.
 
But Robison showed loyalty too.  A pass-rushing specialist who had 28 sacks in 3 years at Splendora High School, and 41 tackles for loss at the University of Texas, Brian never complained about playing on the left side of the line in the NFL, where sacks are very difficult to come by when right-handed quarterbacks can see you coming.   
 
As a result, Brian seemed to play second-fiddle to All-Pro Jared Allen who arrived in 2008, but it was the splashy Allen who left via Free Agency in 2014, and Robison who was again retained to man the left side in Minnesota. 
 
Certainly teams nearer to Robison’s Texas offseason home, like Dallas and Houston, or even New Orleans, could use the talent of number 96.  Yet, Brian preferred being in Minnesota, and liked the attitude of his head coach.
 
“He’s a straight-shooter”, says Robison of head coach Zimmer, and Brian believed the prior Viking defenses lacked the disciplined and aggressive nature that Zimmer brought.    This was never more evident that when Zimmer held his first mini-camp practice upon his arrival in 2014, and Robison said, “I’m actually looking forward to getting yelled at a little bit by him (Zimmer)”.  
 
But, the respect for Zimmer was never more evident than when the coach was on the sidelines in Jacksonville this past season to coach the team versus the Jaguars, even after the head coach had just had his fourth major eye surgery of the year.   Robison said, “he did exactly what he expects of the rest of his players.  He’s expects us to be tough, and he is just as tough.”
 
But, it is more than toughness that Robison enjoys about Zimmer.   Ever since Zimmer arrived in Minnesota, there had been rumors of using the athletic Robison at his more natural standup-DE/LB position he often played in college.  But, the limitations and depth of the Viking defensive line, did not allow Zimmer to try Robison in a role that would make him a bigger playmaker until this past season.
 
In training camp, Robison has always been like another coach on the field, helping the all the defensive linemen with their techniques to get better, never worrying whether the tricks-of-the-trade he shares will help the younger players challenge for his starting position, he just wants to win.  But this past training camp, Robison was constantly on the field during intrasquad scrimmage time, listening to advice from Zimmer on how to play the standup position in his defense.  
 
Constantly absorbing, that one-on-one coaching from Zimmer paid-off, as at age 33, Robison had resurgence in his career, registering 7.5 sacks.  While most of those sacks came from his familiar left Defensive End position, Robison was much harder for offensive linemen to account for, because he was constantly moving around on the line or in his standup blitzing position.
 
With all his success, and even though Robison knows he’s still effective, the candle is burning lower on his NFL career.    Although he had a great year in 2016, Robison acknowledged that the torch may soon pass, when he was quoted after the season finale with the Bears as saying “Danielle (Hunter) has done a good job this year, and deserves a chance to start”. 
 
But, don’t misread that quote – Brian Robison isn’t done yet.  With 10 seasons under his belt, Robison has registered 56 sacks, 8 fumble recoveries and a highlight reel touchdown in Chicago a few seasons ago.   He has goals still, and the biggest of which is getting that elusive Super Bowl ring for the fans of Minnesota, and for him and his teammates.  He believes his best chance is with his Vikings.
 
So, Brian settles in for two more Minnesota winters, delaying his return to the warmer climate for a retirement likely filled in pursuit of big bass on the lakes of Texas.
 
“It’s awesome. It doesn’t happen very often in today’s NFL business where a player can be drafted and stay with the same team for his entire career.   We’ve seen Chad and Brian who will eventually doing it. That also tells you a lot about the character and loyalty of those 2 guys and the makeup of the Minnesota Vikings. To me it shows how the organization feels about those 2 and how they feel about the organization. I’m very proud to have been a part of it and I know Brian is too. I want to thank the fans , because without their support none of this would have been possible. Thank you all!” says Brian’s Dad, Jimmy Robison.
 
In all, Brian Robison is a team player, a model of consistency, and a role-model for the community and his teammates.  A man with a tremendous sense of humor, as seen in his 96 questions interview series, no opposing team offense in the NFL is laughing at his return.  
 
Brian Robison may be Minnesota Nice off the field, but he is nothing but Texas Nasty on the field.
 
So, pack a few extra aspirin Aaron Rodgers, order extra ice Matthew Stafford, and get some smelling salts prepared Dak Prescott, because a freight train wearing number 96 will meet you in a backfield near your town for the next two seasons, and maybe in the playoffs.
 

16 thoughts on “The Texas Viking

  • March 26, 2017 at 5:43 am
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    Wow . Very nice . We do have some to be proud of. Thanks Tom

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  • March 26, 2017 at 7:13 am
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    I said this before in regards to Peterson. Greed and Leadership are enemies. You can’t cripple the team with a salary and hope you will win a championship. The NFL is different than MLB and the NBA where guaranteed contracts are the norm. The salary cap keeps an even playing field, but the lack of guaranteed money after the first year is unfair to the players, especially those that get hurt while giving their best. While it is unfair, and until it is changed, it is what it is. This is the landscape the players have to live with in order to play in the NFL. Management can cut players who they believe are no longer worth the value of the contract and the players are stuck with the contract they signed even if their perceived value goes up, It sucks for them, but again it is what it is. So that said, Adrian took the Vikings to the bank in 2014 while being suspended. He sat home and got paid. No fault of the Vikings, but they paid the man while their hands were tied. They then in order to keep a disgruntled and at that moment, a tarnished super star, they did what they could to keep him, and they paid in salary cap. In 2016, he was injured and they paid again. It happens in football, but sooner or later the player in this circumstance has to say, you know what I need to pay them back for sitting out. To pay them back for the fumble that put the SeaChickens in a position to comeback on the Vikings in the infamous playoff game in 2016. The kick that ultimately was the blame was setup by Adrian’s fumble late in the game. AP had 7 fumbles in 2015, even if he led the league in rushing,

    I bring up the salary cap for something specific. Last year, once Bridgewater went down, the Vikings did what they had to do and traded for Bradford. It was a risk, sure, but it was a smart one considering Teddy’s injury status. With the trade, the Vikings’ salary cap took a huge hit taking on Sam’s contract. When they signed Jake Long out of semi-retirement, it was with barely any room left to do it. After that all they had was scraps to sign practice squad players. When you lock in players for huge contracts, it will ultimately hurt the team in cases like this. Even if they traded for Joe Thomas from the Browns as rumored during the trading deadline, the Vikings would have had to dump salary to take on his contract. They had no cap space for it. Adrian’s contract handicapped the Vikings ability to help the team with a cap hit of 12 million dollars in 2016. We can’t begrudge players for getting all they can, while they can. Time is fleeting for the NFL player. Yet, ultimately the Vikings did not win a Super Bowl, failed miserably to make the playoffs last year and we paid AP to sit most of the season with a 12 million cap hit. If AP wanted to be contrite and stay a Viking to win a Super Bowl, he would have. In the end, the Vikings avoided the 18 million cap hit by not bringing him back under his present deal.

    So when you see players like Robison and Greenway restructure their deals because they want to stay with a team they believe in, it is because they are leaders that want to help the team win. Sure they’re not the stars that AP is/was, but they have done more for the Vikings on the field than Adrian has in the past 3 years. They understand that in order to get to the playoffs, to get the team to the Super Bowl and win it, there has to be some sacrifice. Rhett did not leave the right way, and maybe some of the things and his father said were some what true. No one else spoke up against Zimmer, so lets hope that Rhett is just a guy who wanted to catch the ball more often and was not going to get a chance with the Vikings to realize his potential. I can understand that end of it, and I can’t begrudge a guy who wants to prove the Vikings wrong. He was a helluva TE/FB for us. Our O-Line would have been a lot worse if he did not help block for the Vikings. Unfortunately, Rhett and his Dad pissed all over our team after they left. Unforgivable in my eyes. He could have left us with good memories, but in the end we will only recall the after burn. Adrian’s Dad said some hurtful things too, but I hope Adrian can leave with more grace that Rhett did. Let’s hope so.

    In the end, I am grateful for Brian and Chad for all they have done for the Vikings both on the field and sacrifice with their salaries. Leadership and Greed are enemies in the NFL. Brian is a leader and Adrian…well you get my point. Thanks for the piece Tom. It was a good read.

    Reply
  • March 26, 2017 at 8:58 am
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    As much as winning is important to us fans, we need to enjoy the quality of effort and character of some, too few, of the players.  I have been a fan of the team since the beginning, Brian and Chad fit in with the legacy of  Bill Brown, Dave Osborne Jim Marshall, Alan Page et al.

     The last jersey I purchased was a 7, Jackson, bought it over a 52, Greenway, convinced myself I jinxed any player who’s jersey I bought.  Had bought a Smoot just prior.  Really wanna get a 52  this year and a 96 next year, but being unsure of the impact of my jersey selections, I have some trepidations.

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  • March 26, 2017 at 9:17 am
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    One of my favorite parts of training camp was watching the amount of hustle and leadership BRob had. Every moment he wasn’t being a information-sponge to the coach or involved in a drill, he was coaching, coaching, coaching other players. Even walking off the field while we were in the media “line” he was still in some other players ear telling them about a technique or helping them understand a formation responsibility. Guys like BRob and Greenway would serve this organization well as coaches in remaining with it. They are true masters of their craft, even if not stat-monsters.

    Reply
  • March 26, 2017 at 9:17 am
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    BigAl99 said
    As much as winning is important to us fans, we need to enjoy the quality of effort and character of some, too few, of the players.  I have been a fan of the team since the beginning, Brian and Chad fit in with the legacy of  Bill Brown, Dave Osborne Jim Marshall, Alan Page et al.

     The last jersey I purchased was a 7, Jackson, bought it over a 52, Greenway, convinced myself I jinxed any player who’s jersey I bought.  Had bought a Smoot just prior.  Really wanna get a 52  this year and a 96 next year, but being unsure of the impact of my jersey selections, I have some trepidations.  

    I think we can enjoy the quality effort of many. Otherwise, I agree with your sentiment. 

    My next jersey was going to be Kendrics, Barr or XR. Now I’m thinking its Page #88 – keeping it old school

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  • March 26, 2017 at 5:55 pm
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    Brian is one of the easiest players to interview and to write a story about.  No drama, and a hard worker.

     

    Now, getting a quote from his dad is harder, as he is usually somewhere in a deer stand in the fall or with scuba gear scouting around lily pads for bass in the spring and summer!

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  • March 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm
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    Excellent, Tom! I really enjoyed reading that. BRob = great guy, both on & off the field.tu-purp

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  • March 26, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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    Excellent Read Tom….. Thanksclap_02

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  • March 27, 2017 at 8:40 am
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    Nice work Tom,  its easy to understand why BRob has been a true fans favorite since he got here.

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  • March 27, 2017 at 10:22 am
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    Tom Moore said
    Brian is one of the easiest players to interview and to write a story about.  No drama, and a hard worker.

     

    Now, getting a quote from his dad is harder, as he is usually somewhere in a deer stand in the fall or with scuba gear scouting around lily pads for bass in the spring and summer!  

    you find it hard to get Jimmy to talk?  That seems rather odd.  laugh

     

    Well done Tom.  Glad to have a loyal Viking to cheer for a couple more years.

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  • March 28, 2017 at 2:27 pm
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    Great read Tom. 

    BTW,  Brian just posted a message to the fans on his instagram.

    I’d post a link but I haven’t gotten the whole handle of this yet.

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  • March 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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    96POPS said
    Great read Tom. 

    BTW,  Brian just posted a message to the fans on his instagram.

    I’d post a link but I haven’t gotten the whole handle of this yet.  

    POPS ~ I just created a thread with his message & link to his Facebook page where you can see the video.

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  • March 29, 2017 at 8:29 pm
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    Fantastic write up, Tom.  Brian is truly a fan favorite with all his contributions off the field, his 96 Questions segments that let his humor shine through, and his non-stop energy on the field.

    I’ll be sad to see him hang up his cleats whenever that time comes.

    BOOM

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  • March 31, 2017 at 9:43 am
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    Buddah said
    I said this before in regards to Peterson. Greed and Leadership are enemies. You can’t cripple the team with a salary and hope you will win a championship.Last year, once Bridgewater went down, the Vikings did what they had to do and traded for Bradford. It was a risk, sure, but it was a smart one considering Teddy’s injury status. With the trade, the Vikings’ salary cap took a huge hit taking on Sam’s contract. When they signed Jake Long out of semi-retirement, it was with barely any room left to do it. After that all they had was scraps to sign practice squad players. When you lock in players for huge contracts, it will ultimately hurt the team in cases like this. Even if they traded for Joe Thomas from the Browns as rumored during the trading deadline, the Vikings would have had to dump salary to take on his contract. They had no cap space for it. Adrian’s contract handicapped the Vikings ability to help the team with a cap hit of 12 million dollars in 2016. We can’t begrudge players for getting all they can, while they can. Time is fleeting for the NFL player. Yet, ultimately the Vikings did not win a Super Bowl, failed miserably to make the playoffs last year and we paid AP to sit most of the season with a 12 million cap hit. If AP wanted to be contrite and stay a Viking to win a Super Bowl, he would have. In the end, the Vikings avoided the 18 million cap hit by not bringing him back under his present deal.

    Good points about the impact of Peterson on our cap and its effect on actual personnel, but one additional point: we could not even afford to pay Bradford when we acquired him, and had to pay the Eagles extra in draft picks. Philadelphia paid $11M of his salary last year, and it was openly reported that it increased the trade cost on our part. How much is unknown, but the Browns sold $18M of space for a 2nd, so if we could have afforded to pay Bradford’s full salary last year, the trade for him likely would have dropped from a 1st-round pick to a 2nd.

    I doubt we will ever know if the Vikings approached Peterson about adjusting his contract to help the team pay Bradford’s salary before the trade. His alone would not have been enough, but there would have been no point without his “contribution”, and if he is a team leader dedicated to winning, his would have been a powerful example. As you say, no one can force a player to give up money, but regardless, overpaying Peterson has cost this team draft picks, not just the Wilfs’ money.

    Reply

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