By Joseph Gunther
Brian Robison, DE #96
Hometown: Splendora, TX
Experience: 6 years
The Minnesota Vikings drafted the defensive end equipped with a buzz cut hairstyle in the fourth round (pick No. 102 overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft. Now a second-year starter, Brian Robison is wielding a pony tail half way down his back and making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
Robison became a full-time starter in 2011 following the departure of Ray Edwards. Edwards, who was recently released, signed a lucrative contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Vikings took a chance on a relatively unproven player with the intent of letting Edwards leave. Robison thrived in the expanded role with the Vikings recording career-highs in sacks (eight), tackles (44) and forced fumbles (three) last season. He started developing a reputation as a good pass rusher as a rookie. He finished the 2007 season third among NFL rookies with 4.5 sacks and earned All-Rookie Honors.
“I think I’ve done everything I possibly can to show that I can be a starter,” Robison said after signing the extension in March 2011. “I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given. I feel like I’ve done very well showing them that I can play the run as well as the pass. I think I’ve done everything I could possibly do to show them that I deserve to be a starter and every-down player in this league.”
Aside from a 3.5 sack game against the Arizona Cardinals, this season he is not getting to the quarterback as frequently, but has helped the secondary by knocking down an already career-high seven passes.
In addition to his hairstyle, the 29-year-old is known for a groin-kicking incident involving the hated Packers. The incident, called a cheap shot by Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang, on Oct. 23, 2011 drew a $20,000 fine from the NFL.
Lang, a versatile second-year starter, called it a cheap shot and “pretty cowardly” act. “I didn’t do anything dirty to the guy,” he said. “I don’t know what he was upset about.”
While regretting the incident, Robison had a slightly different view of the exchange.
“From what I hear, it didn’t show on the TV copy. But if you watch the game, you can clearly see he kind of picked me up in mid-air, put me on the back, and then presumed to come toward me. So automatically I went into defense mode.”
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier shared his thoughts during his Monday press conference on the incident.
“It’s not something that we condone by any means. It really put us in a bad spot from a penalty standpoint,” he said. “And he has to understand the situation and what’s going on and how it could affect our football team. I know he’s concerned about it. He even tried to get a hold of (Lang) to apologize. It’s something he doesn’t want out there. It’s not an image he wants to portray, nor do we as a team. He’s conscious of it, he’s apologized and hoping it never happens again.”
In addition to playing football at Texas, Robison was an NCAA runner-up in the shot put.
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.