Don’t Lose Your Mind if the Vikings Draft Bijan Robinson

Rick Spielman Would
Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK.

Some NFL team will draft University of Texas running back Bijan Robinson in 25 days, and about half of that team’s fanbase will freak out and declare the pick silly because RB isn’t a premium position.

We get it. Teams with premiere running backs never win Super Bowls, and the position is diminishing in importance by the minute. That isn’t disputed.

Don’t Lose Your Mind if the Vikings Draft Bijan Robinson

However, a team will sign on his dotted line, and if it’s the Vikings, here’s how you can avoid a mental meltdown.

A Viking for 6 Years — Yes, 6.

Lose Your Mind
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports.

Call it the Saquon Barkley epiphany.

Barkley enters Year Six in New York this year — can you believe that? — and will carry on RB1 duties there for at least one more season. Why? Well, like Robinson soon, New York drafted Barkley in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants, plus every team that scoops a tailback out of Round 1, are afforded these options:

  • 4 Years of the Rookie Contract
  • 1 Year of the 5th-Year 1st-Round Option
  • 1 Franchise Tag

Boom — a team can utilize a Saquon or Bijan from age 21 to 26 or 22 to 27. It’s a blueprint. The Vikings wouldn’t have to offer Robinson a Dalvin Cook-like extension (from 2020), and if he’s truly that dynamic — like Barkley — a franchise tag in 2028 will be worth it.

Call Him a WR if It Hurts Too Much

Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) celebrates a touchdown during the annual Red River Showdown against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 8, 2022. © Aaron Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Robinson is compared to Adrian Peterson in terms of talent level — he has a long way to go before that comes to fruition — but he’s stylistically different. Peterson was a brute-force, HR-hitting runner of the football who didn’t catch the ball efficiently out of the backfield. You can pretend, “Oh, Adrian could catch if they allowed him to,” but he really couldn’t.

Robinson can.

If mental gymnastics are required to get on board with Robinson-to-Vikings on April 27th, just pretend he’s 40% wide receiver. Rationalize. Justify.

And if you hadn’t noticed, the Vikings could use more help at the WR spot after Adam Thielen left two weeks ago.

Accustomed to a Style of Living

Draft Crushes
Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson takes a photo with band member Giorgy Ruiz before the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in San Antonio. © Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Vikings football inherently involves a dominant running back, or at least that’s been the gig since 2007. If the Vikings current RB1 is traded or released, Minnesota will venture into a season without an Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook for the first time since 2006. Let that sink in.

Minnesota is probably headed to a running back by committee with Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, and Kene Nwangwu, but it shouldn’t surprise you to high heavens if the team with a history of employing Peterson and Cook continues the elite RB streak. It seems to be in the Vikings DNA.

In the end, would it really be that horrible — or a detriment, generally speaking — if a team drafts the best running back in the league? The audacity.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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