Monday, March 2, 2015
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brian robison

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[Note from Brett: We’re happy to have Mr. Lemke back for another bold prediction for the 2013 season. In prediction #10, Branden submitted that Harrison Smith will be a pro bowl safety this year. In #9, he predicted that the Vikings will hold six receivers on the final roster including Joe Webb and Greg Childs. This time, see how Branden thinks Everson Griffen will fair in 2013.]

Perhaps one of the most underrated players on our defense, and maybe even the entire NFL, is defensive end Everson Griffen. His production as a career backup to Brian Robison has been stellar. 2012 was his best year, racking up 26 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and who could forget his interception returned for a touchdown against the St Louis Rams? Despite his backup status, I expect to see Everson Griffen push Brian Robison for even more playing time in the rotation, and ultimately, I think Griffen is our guy long term at the left defensive end spot.

Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, and Everson Griffen are all entering the last year of their contracts. I love all these players, but realistically, the Vikings can’t afford to keep all of them. Griffen is by far the youngest of the group, and if he can put up numbers like he did last year, I think there’s no question the Vikings will pick him over Robison when all is said and done. I think we’ll see Griffen’s playing time increase heavily over the course of the 2013 season, and I am predicting he’ll finish with 35 tackles, 8-10 sacks, and a few forced fumbles. I don’t know what the Vikings thoughts are on keeping Kevin Williams or Jared Allen, given the cost of keeping both of those players may be out of the Vikings financial reach by the end of the season. In a perfect world, all four would be re-signed, but sadly we may be losing some fan favorites in 2014.

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Brian Robison didn’t have a bad year in 2012 by any means, but he is looking forward to getting healthy and contributing even more during his contract year.  His shoulder injury did not require surgery, but he says it did bother him particularly during the playoff game in Green Bay, and he is a permanent reminder of the injury in the form of a quarter-sized bump on his shoulder.

“I’ve still got a little deformity there with the bone popping up. It’s still there and it’s going to be there,” Robison told Viking Update.  “They say it’s pretty permanent. It’s been good. I’ve been getting strong in the weight room and been feeling good on the field so far, so it’s been going well.”

“Pretty well” might be a bit of an understatement for Robison after Wednesday’s practice session where he intercepted quarterback Christian Ponder not once, but twice.  On one occasion, rookie corner Xavier Rhodes tipped the pass back towards the line and Robison was able to make the heads up play.  On the other, he was simply able to get into the air and snatch Ponder’s pass before walking into the endzone.  While that isn’t exactly the news we want to be hearing about our quarterback, it is always good to hear that our defensive line is making some splash plays at the line.

Robison ended up with an arm harness last season and a brace for his elbow, which was a separate injury which he admits also impacted his game.

“A lot. It really did. There was some times out there where that, paired along with the elbow brace that I was wearing, I felt like a lot of times I was playing with no arms out there and it was kind of a weird deal,” he said .  “You can really see in the playoff game when I came back and then six days later we had to play another game, it was one of those deals where it just wasn’t ready to go, but the competitor in me didn’t want to sit out.”

Robison has never reached double digit sacks, with 8.5 last season being his career high, but he is a burst type of player that seldom seems to be a goat and has made his share of big plays from the left end position.  Like Jared Allen, Robison faces a contract year in 2013, and he will be expected to take a step or two towards improving even more.

 

The Vikings made three first round selections Thursday night, but they added a fourth in the form of defensive end Lawrence Jackson who was selected by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2008 Draft.  The Seahawks selected tight end John Carlson in the second round of that Draft and he is also on the current roster of the Vikings.

The deal for Jackson is reportedly of the one-year variety and he joins an already crowded depth chart that also saw rookie Sharrif Floyd added to it on Thursday night.  The hope is that this move is an attempt to have a top-notch rotation along the line, and not a sign that either Jared Allen or Brian Robison have more serious shoulder injuries than the team has let on.

He has generated 98 tackles, 19.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two recoveries in his five seasons with the Seahawks and Lions.  As another USC product joining the Vikings, Rick Spielman has continued to display an affinity for players coming out of that program.

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The Vikings are preparing to make two first round selections next week, but they are also taking a look at adding a guy that once was selected 28th overall by the Seattle Seahawks.

Free agent defensive end Lawrence Jackson was reportedly scheduled to meet with the Vikings today.  Jackson was a standout at USC before being selected by Seattle in 2008.  He played with the Lions over the last three seasons and has never quite lived up to his draft position.  Over the course of his career Jackson after starting 24 games during his two seasons in Seattle and none with the Lions.

He has only generated 98 tackles, 19.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two recoveries in his five seasons.  Still, at age 28, he could certainly provide the Vikings with some interesting depth at their most talented position heading into training camp.  Defensive ends Jared Allen, Brian Robison, and Everson Griffen are all due to be free agents following this season.

Signing a guy like Jackson would all but eliminate the need to draft a pass rusher next week.

Jared Allen has said that the surgery to repair his torn labrum, which we already knew about, was the first surgery he’s had during his entire professional career.  In fact, he said it was the first surgery he’s had since getting his tonsils out at the age of five.

According to Tom Pelissero, however, Allen got two surgeries done on the same day.

In addition to the torn labrum, Allen had a “minor” knee issue taken care of on the same day, and is expected to be ready for June’s minicamp.

Allen will be 31 years old in a couple of days and is entering the final year of his contract.  He is set to make a base salary of $14.28 million, with a cap hit of $17.06 million, and these facts have led some to wonder if Allen could be a candidate for a contract extension or even as a trade possibility.

The free agent market this offseason has been flooded with big name veteran pass rushers, and the Draft is very talented and deep in this area, so it seems highly unlikely the Vikings would find any offers of interest on the trade market.

Allen’s age and injuries, as well as the overabundant market, may cause the Vikings to balk at the idea of giving Allen any sort of lucrative extension.  An extension would surely mean they have to invest more guaranteed money into Allen, or else he would have little motivation to sign it, and the Vikings may just not feel comfortable with the idea of making such a commitment.

The idea of convincing Allen to take any sort of pay cut is laughable, considering the only reason he is a Viking in the first place was the stubborn stance he took with the Chiefs after they applied the franchise tag to him so many years ago, and he would surely have all the leverage in this situation, as well.

With Everson Griffen and Brian Robison still on the team, the Vikings could theoretically decide to release Allen and begin the process of developing younger talent, but I just don’t see that happening despite the salary cap benefits that would result in the move.  Allen is a beloved figure in Minnesota and his dip in productivity last season has, by many, been attributed to his shoulder issue.

Don’t be surprised if Allen plays out his current contract, under his current salary, and then decides to test the market in 2014 when maybe defensive end options won’t be as plentiful for needy teams.

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