Saturday, November 28, 2015

brian robison

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At exactly 10:30 this morning — head coach Mike Zimmer runs a tight ship — injured Minnesota Vikings Brian Robison, Captain Munnerlyn, and Phil Loadholt will return to practice, taking part in the team’s first walkthrough since June’s minicamp activities. Their recoveries from a handful of injuries are a positive sign as the Vikings begin training camp in Mankato, Minnesota.

During his press conference yesterday, Mike Zimmer addressed the status of Robinson, who strained his pectoral muscle in May while working out at Winter Park. At the time of his injury, Robison told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that he’d be “OK”, but fans still worried about the eight-year veteran. At 32-years-old, many have speculated if Robison can continue to be productive on the field, especially after a disappointing 2014 season on it. When asked if Robison will be ready, Zimmer kept it short and sweet, as only Zimmer can:

“I do.”

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With only a short time until training camp kicks off in Mankato (yay!), excitement is in the air and it feels like football season is really just around the corner. I’m always internally conflicted around this time of year, because on one hand I can’t wait until the regular season is underway, but on the other hand that also means another Minnesota winter … I’m sure you all understand what I mean! Anyway, before camp kicks off, I thought it would be fun to see what a handful of your favorite players have been up to over the offseason.

Brian Robison

Spent quality time with the family: Robison spends a lot of time with his wife, daughter and son, and he often posts photos of the family adventures on his Instagram account. This offseason, he posted about his son’s birthday party, attending the circus, family vacations, and more. It’s great to see these players making it a priority to spend time with family!

Watched the NBA Playoffs: A native of Houston, Texas, Robison is a huge Rockets fan and supported James Harden and Co. during the 2015 NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Rockets lost to Golden State prior to the Finals.

Went fishing (of course): For as comfortable as Robison is on the field, he’s just as much a natural with a fishing rod in his hands. It’s no secret that the DE spends a large part of his offseason fishing, and Vikings photographer Andy Kenutis captured some fun photos of Robison’s off-field gig.  Robison even got a feature written on him in Bass Angler Magazine:

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Last month we looked at some offensive players and predicted stat leaders, so now we’ll dive into the defensive end of the field.

Which Players Will Lead the Vikings in Sacks for the 2015 Season? 

Adam: Everson Griffen
Everson Griffen was the leader in 2014 and it wasn’t even close. The Vikings did a lot to help their defense this offseason, particularly in the Draft, but none of those additions should do anything other than help Griffen’s pass rushing production. While the defensive tackles and linebackers will rotate to stay fresh, the pass rushing attack will again center around Griffen who might find himself in a position to be even more aggressive in 2015. Health has a ton to do with it, and Anthony Barr might take a huge step forwards, but I still see this season ending with Griffen as the sack champ of Minnesota.

Andy: Anthony Barr
Conventional wisdom says Everson Griffen will lead the way and continue to build on last year’s coming out party of 12.0 sacks, but I’m going to bet on youth and Anthony Barr. He’s a physical specimen heading into only his fourth year of playing defense and second under Mike Zimmer. Barr started slow his rookie year, but picked up a lot of steam before getting injured and finishing the season with only 4.0 sacks. I think a full-offseason and a year of good health could not only double that number, but possibly triple or quadruple.

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Before the start of the 2014 season, Rick Spielman rewarded defensive end Everson Griffen with a five-year, $42.5 million contract. Looking back at the deal, “rewarded” may be the wrong word; Griffen had started just one game in his four years with the team, recording just 17.5 sacks in spot duty behind Jared Allen.

But, Griffen showed flashes of a potentially bright future — an interception return for a touchdown against the Rams in 2012, 5.5 sacks in just 699 snaps throughout 2013. Spielman gambled on that future, letting Jared Allen walk in free agency and trusting his roster talent. His commitment to Griffen was more than trust; it was a ringing, $20 million guaranteed endorsement.

Simply put, Griffen delivered in 2014, recording 12 sacks through 16 starts (993 snaps). To the media outside of Winter Park, Griffen’s meteoric rise was unexpected. He earned national recognition, most recently from Pro Football Focus, who listed Griffen as the 98th-best player in all of football. According to the website, Griffen’s 59 quarterback disruptions while lined up on the right side of the line were second most of all 4-3 defensive ends.

That statistic is the perfect opportunity to move down the defensive line and focus on Griffen’s counterpart; Brian Robison. Griffen is a lock to man the right edge for years to come, but Robison’s days may soon be numbered. He’s 32-years-old and played in 932 of the defense’s snaps last year, but saw his production dwindle.

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Living in Sebeka, MN, Mike Arthur proves to be another storied Vikings fan, his childhood filled with memories surrounding the purple and gold. When Arthur was in kindergarten, he played football with his friends, and they each picked players to act as. Arthur always chose Anthony Carter or Tommy Kramer.

Things really picked up for Arthur when Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter entered the picture.”I became a super fan when Warren Moon and Carter started connecting for all those touchdowns,” he remembers.

There has been plenty of disappointment between “the good ol’ days” and now, and Arthur has endured the pain and heartache with the rest of us. However, he’s ready and excited for a season that will hopefully go a little more according to plan.

The offseason is in full swing, and the Vikings have made plenty of moves praised by the fans, including Arthur. Drafting CB Trae Waynes and LB Eric Kendricks will prove significant for Minnesota. Arthur weighs in on the selections:

“Waynes will be a huge upgrade in our secondary and should help this defense turn the corner from being good to great. I think of all the trouble the Vikings had getting off the field on third down last season, and he should be the key to that puzzle.” 

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