Friday, July 31, 2015

brian robison

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(UPDATE): It seems like the Vikings are genuinely interested in Michael Johnson:

Original story below


 

Wednesday afternoon, Chris Tomasson reported that a source close to defensive end Michael Johnson said he expects the Vikings to be “in the running” for Johnson’s 2015-2016 destination. Tampa Bay waived Johnson earlier Wednesday, and he is not expected to make an immediate decision. However, Minnesota could hold the upper hand as head coach Mike Zimmer has already worked with Johnson. “Zimmer’s his guy,’’ said the source. “He almost went (to Minnesota) last year.’’ Two days ago, ESPN’s Ben Goessling reminded us of just that:

 

Johnson played with the Bengals from 2009-13, when Zimmer was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. Although considering Minnesota last year, he instead signed a five-year, $43.75 million contract with the Buccaneers. It was at that point the Vikings re-signed Everson Griffen.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note: This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period. This is the ninth article, focusing on the defensive ends. In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterbacksrunning backstight endsfullbackswide outsspecialistssafeties, and cornerbacks.]

With free agency fast approaching, front offices are preparing to make moves that will shape their franchises in 2015 and beyond. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has never been one to sign “splashy” free agent names, but his decisions have generally been “low-risk, high-reward” moves.

This year, the Vikings will need to address their defensive ends — specifically,  the situation surrounding Brian Robison’s backup. The team drafted Oregon State’s Scott Crichton 72nd-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft hoping he’d fill that role, but the former Beaver recorded just 2 tackles in 8 games.

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Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Don’t you love the NFL offseason?  If you thought the wait for the NFL draft was bad, we’re currently experiencing the worst part of the year for football fans. For those finding ways to supplement your withdraws with another type of football, I’m jealous. For myself, in hopes of filling the void, I’ve watched and re-watched the practice highlights looking for something to stand out.  I’ve also done a great deal of thinking around the current depth chart, trying to predict where the 2014 Vikings will make their greatest strides.

When looking at a defense full of holes in 2013, it isn’t difficult to identify the area in need of the largest improvement. Second to only the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikings ranked 31st in total passing defense in 2013, surrendering an average of 287 yards through the air per game. To throw salt on the wound, the Vikings allowed 37 passing TDs and a completion percentage of 64.7%, a completion percentage so high that only 6 quarterbacks averaged a higher number for the 2013 season.

The Vikings secondary wasn’t just the weakest spot on the field, it made an opposing quarterback look like a pro bowler week in and week out.

The defensive collapses were frustrating to watch. Each week, fans watched in agony as the defense gave up more 3rd & long completions, some of which cost the Vikings wins and ultimately cost Head Coach Leslie Frazier and staff their jobs. There is no quick fix for a defensive unit as broken as the Vikings secondary. Was it the scheme or the personnel? Let’s take a closer look at how General Manager Rick Spielman has addressed the troubled secondary entering the 2014 season.

The Vikings are currently negotiating a contract extension with defensive end Everson Griffen and recently completed a four-year contract extension with defensive end Brian Robison.

What about All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen?

There are currently no contract talks between the team and Allen’s camp.

It is apparent here that Minnesota is attempting to lock two of its younger pass rushers. Robison, 30, received a four-year deal worth a reported $22.4 million. Griffen, 25,  recently rejected a contract offer by the team, but that is likely just a part of the contract negotiation process.

Allen, 31, isn’t much older than Robison, but would likely seek a contract much more lucrative to Robison’s $5.6 million per year average. Allen is currently earning $14.3 million for the 2013-14 season.

The door is not completely shut on Allen returning, but the writing is on the wall.

Josh Freeman stole most of the headlines regarding the Vikings this week, but Wednesday brought a flurry of activity from Winter Park, and here are your resulting roster updates:

McLeod Bethel-Thompson:  Many Minnesota fans hoped to see “MBT” sneak onto the practice squad after he was the casualty cut following the Freeman signing.  Not only would retaining him have allowed the Vikings to continue developing him, but it could have provided them greater flexibility and leverage in potential trade scenarios involving either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel.  Instead, the San Francisco Forty-Niners claimed him off waivers.  MBT started his career with the Niners, but has yet to see any regular season playing time with any of the teams he has signed with since 2011.

Brian Robison:  One of my favorite Vikings is defensive end Brian Robison, mainly because of his unheralded consistency on the left side, so I was elated to hear that the Vikings signed him to a four year contract extension.  The deal is reportedly worth $28.3 million, with $13.1 million in guarantees and a $5 million signing bonus.  Robison has been one of the best 4-3 left ends in the NFL, particularly in the pass rushing department, so it is no surprise that the contract incentives are tied directly to sack numbers.  Robison, the class act that he is, joked with reporters that the quality of bass fishing in Minnesota was a major factor in his decision to re-up.  Defensive ends Jared Allen and Everson Griffen are also in contract years.

Justin Trattou:  The Vikings also made a waiver claim on Wednesday and they were awarded defensive end Justin Trattou who was recently released by the New York Giants.  Trattou was undrafted out of Florida in 2011 and has bounced around the Giants practice squad and active roster over the last couple of years.  He has very limited playing time and is mostly an unknown at this point.  Still, the Vikings front office thought highly enough of his potential that they jettisoned defensive end George Johnson to make room for him.

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