Brian Robison

Vikings Notes: Robison, Hughes, Carlson

Last month, it was announced that Vikings defensive end Brian Robison was taking a pay cut to stay with the team in the final year of his contract. The longtime Viking was scheduled to make $3.5MM initially, but his pay cut reduced his base salary to $1.015MM plus a $90K workout bonus.

Now Robison, who has been with the Vikings since being drafted by the team in the fourth round back in 2007, appears ready to hang up his cleats. He recently told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’ll “more than likely” retire after the 2018 season.

If the 2018 season is indeed Robison’s last in the NFL, it will be the end to an unusually long run with a single team for a role player. Normally only a star player would wind up playing for the same team for 12 seasons, but Robison has carved out a similar situational pass-rushing role with the Vikings year after year through multiple coaching staffs and front offices. He has 60 sacks, 19 passes defended, and 13 forced fumbles throughout his career, only missing three of a possible 176 games since entering the league.

Here’s more on the Vikings:

  • Vikings first-round cornerback Mike Hughes is “pretty close” to signing his rookie deal, Hughes told Tomasson. Hughes, the only Vikings draft pick yet to sign, was taken with the 30th overall pick in April’s draft out of Central Florida.
  • Tomasson reports that rookie kicker Daniel Carlson “has looked better than Kai Forbath in the battle to be Minnesota’s kicker.” Since the Vikings used a fifth-rounder on Carlson, they likely have every intention of having him be their kicker. Forbath, the incumbent, was underwhelming last year and appears likely to be cut.
  • Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph is working his way back from offseason ankle surgery, and recently returned to the field. Tomasson notes that Rudolph is ahead of schedule in his recovery and wasn’t supposed to get back to work for a few more weeks.

Vikings’ Brian Robison Accepts Pay Cut

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison accepted a pay cut in order to return for another season, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (on Twitter). Robison was initially scheduled to make $3.5MM this season, but he’ll now make a base salary of just $1.015MM, plus a $90K workout bonus. 

[RELATED: Dalvin Cook Ahead Of Schedule]

Robison’s pay cut opens up $2.38MM in new cap space for Minnesota. Somehow, after an offseason which saw the additions of quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, the Vikings have $17.1MM in cap room. The Vikings will try to use that flexibility to extend standouts like linebacker Anthony Barr, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and defensive end Danielle Hunter.

After the season, Robison wouldn’t guarantee that he would return for another year. Last week, he affirmed that he would come back for his 12th campaign. Although he started in six straight seasons for the Vikings, he’ll come off of the bench for a second consecutive year in 2018 as he supports Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter.

Despite playing in a reserve role, Robison still logged 642 snaps in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brian Robison To Return For 12th Season

Brian Robison has decided to play at least one more season. The Vikings defensive end and the franchise’s longest-tenured active player announced (via Twitter) on Monday he will return to the team.

The 2007 draftee wavered on a previous stance that indicated he would play through the 2018 season, commenting after the Vikings’ season concluded that it wasn’t a surefire proposition he would return. Now, the 35-year-old defender will try for another season in Minnesota.

Having played in all but three games since the start of the 2007 season, Robison ranks fifth in Vikings history with 60 sacks. He stands to occupy a depth role again on Minnesota’s defensive line, being stationed behind Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter on the depth chart. Robison moved back into a bench role after being a full-time starter from 2011-16. Nevertheless, Robison enjoyed a busy workload last season, playing 642 snaps.

However, the Vikings also drafted two defensive ends this year — in fourth-rounder Jalyn Holmes and sixth-rounder Ade Aruna — so the franchise is preparing for Robison’s eventual departure. Robison stands to make $3.2MM in base salary as a part of his revised contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Vikings, Giants, Norwell, Saints

Remember Zac Stacy? The former Rams and Jets running back is attempting an NFL comeback, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link), who spotted Stacy at Vanderbilt’s Pro Day earlier today. Stacy, who turns 27 next month, hasn’t played since 2015, and announced his retirement at this time last year following an ankle injury. The Rams’ starter as a rookie in 2013, Stacy racked up 973 yards and seven touchdowns during his only campaign as a team’s primary back. New York eventually acquired Stacy for a seventh-round pick, but he managed only 31 total rushes before hanging up his cleats.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Now that Kirk Cousins is closing in on a fully guaranteed deal with the Vikings, at least one source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) that Minnesota could ask running back Latavius Murray or defensive end Brian Robison to accept a pay cut in 2018. Murray got into the end zone eight times in 2017, but he’s due to count more than $6MM on next year’s cap and isn’t a lock to start given that rookie sensation Dalvin Cook will return from injury. Robison, meanwhile, hasn’t even decided if he’ll play during the upcoming season. If he retires, the Vikings will pick up $3.488MM in cap space, the same total as if he retires.
  • Guard Andrew Norwell was considered the Giants‘ primary free agent target this offseason, and while he ultimately landed with the Jaguars, New York’s offer was close if not the same as Jacksonville’s, tweets Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Norwell is now the league’s highest-paid after receiving $13MM annually (and $30MM guaranteed) on a five-year deal. New Giants general manager Dave Gettleman originally signed Norwell as an undrafted free agent in Carolina, so the connection made plenty of sense, but Norwell simply chose the Jaguars, per Raanan.
  • New details have emerged on veteran safety Kurt Coleman‘s three-year deal with the Saints, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com writes. In total, the pact is worth $16.35MM, but Coleman can earn another $2.25MM via incentives. Coleman will collect $6.2MM in full guarantees, $4.5MM of which will come in the form of a signing bonus. However, Coleman’s new contract is heavily back-loaded, as his 2018 cap charge is just $3.3MM. New Orleans will have a decision to make in 2019, as Coleman has a $500K roster bonus on the third day of the league year — he could be released with $3MM in dead money accelerating onto the club’s cap.

Vikings’ Brian Robison Could Retire

The Vikings came just short of reaching the Super Bowl this year and it’s not clear whether Brian Robison will be a part of the redemption effort next season. In a radio interview on Monday, the defensive end said that he is pondering retirement. Brian Robison (vertical)

I think that’s a decision I’m going to have to make here over the next few weeks,” said Robison (via La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune). “I think I need to sit down with my wife and talk about it and maybe sit down with [General Manager Rick Spielman] and just think it out. You don’t want to make any spur-of-the-moment decisions just because your emotions are all over the place. You want your mind to calm down and think things through. It is a very important decision.”

Last spring, Robison inked an extension with the team to take him through the 2018 season. At the time, he said that he would retire after the ’18 campaign. Now, those plans might be accelerated.

Robison will turn 35 in April and the longtime starter is showing signs of decline. After starting nearly every game for Minnesota from 2011-2016, the veteran made just one start in 2017. His four sacks and 20 tackles were his lowest posting since 2010 and his 53.4 overall score from Pro Football Focus portrayed him as a below-average edge defender.

Robison is due a base salary of $3.2MM in 2018 with $1.25MM guaranteed, plus $200K in per-game roster bonuses and $100K through a workout bonus. Even if Robison decides to continue playing, the team may choose to move on from him and save ~$2MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Asiata, Lions, Vikes, Bears

Matt Asiata‘s visit with the Lions occurred this weekend, but the team is not ready to offer the former Vikings starter a contract yet, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Birkett adds that the workout went well for the first-time UFA running back, but the Lions are currently going with their holdovers. Detroit’s present backfield houses Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner. The Lions did not draft a running back. An Asiata pact would seemingly stand in the way of the Lions adding LeGarrette Blount. One of the suitors linked to the now-uniquely positioned free agent, the Lions have a need for a reliable runner after Abdullah has failed to stay healthy. The unavailability of he and Riddick, who is already a passing-down specialist, hurt the Lions last season. Asiata has not drawn any other known interest to this point.

Here’s more from Detroit and the latest from some of the Lions’ chief rivals.

  • Jarrad Davis will play middle linebacker and relegate Tahir Whitehead to the competition for one of the outside spots, Birkett notes. Whitehead led the Lions with 132 tackles last season — 45 more than any other Lion recorded in 2016 — but drew scrutiny from Pro Football Focus, which graded the veteran as its second-worst full-time linebacker. Davis played middle linebacker in each of the past two seasons at Florida and appears set to open there for the Lions, who also added Paul Worrilow to the equation there this offseason. Whitehead looks to be the frontrunner for one of the outside jobs in Detroit’s 4-3.
  • Brian Robison said he agreed to a restructured Vikings contract — one that amounts to a paycut in 2017, with his salary being slashed from $5.3MM to $3.9MM — not because the franchise forced him to but because it gives him an opportunity to play 2018 with the franchise. “No. 1 I didn’t have to take a pay cut. It was something I chose to do,” Robison said, per Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “With the Vikings, I thought it was a very complimentary deal both for myself and the organization. On the flip side of it, I got an opportunity to play an extra year here in Minnesota and gives me an opportunity to retire as a Viking and play my entire career in one uniform.” Now 34, the 11th-yaer defensive end is the Vikings’ longest-tenured player and is signed through 2018, and he plans to make that his final NFL season.
  • High-priced Lions guard T.J. Lang won’t join his teammates in workouts until training camp, Birkett reports. The former Packers Pro Bowler is recovering from a January hip surgery, which will shelve him for Detroit’s OTAs and minicamp.
  • The Bears are adjusting some of their quarterback coaching plan for rookie Mitch Trubisky, John Mullin of CSNChicago.com notes, adding, however, John Fox won’t be thinking long-term when he decides who will start come September. Mullin writes that Mike Glennon‘s status as the current starter, one he held at this juncture in the 2015 Buccaneers’ offseason, won’t deter the Bears from starting Trubisky on Day 1 if he’s ready. Trubisky is viewed as more of a project than Jameis Winston, but the Bears’ investment is quite similar to the Bucs’ then.

Brian Robison Plans To Retire After 2018

Brian Robison signed a contract extension that could allow him the opportunity to retire as a Viking, the same way Chad Greenway did. As of now, the veteran defensive end does not plan to play beyond that contract.

This will be Robison’s 11th season, and the 34-year-old defender told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press the 2018 season will likely be his last.

I really do believe that probably at the end of those two years, it will be it,’’ Robison said. “It’ll be about my time to call it (a career), but we’ll see how I feel when I get there. … But I would say that more than likely, that will probably be the time that I’m going to have to lay things to the side and get ready for life after football.”

Having arrived in the same draft class with Adrian Peterson, Robison is set to outlast the future Hall of Famer in purple. He is now the longest-tenured player on the team after Greenway retired. Robison’s contract now runs through 2017, with an overall pay reduction being agreed upon in exchange for an extra year and more guaranteed dollars. Robison expected the Vikings to call about a renegotiation, per Tomasson, and the result gave Minnesota $1.8MM in additional cap space.

This solidifies me to be able to retire as a Minnesota Viking,” Robinson said, via Tomasson. “… I had a long talk with Rick Spielman. We were on the phone for probably 45 minutes, just discussing it.”

The former fourth-round pick registered 7.5 sacks last season and made 16 starts for the Vikings. Since commandeering a starting end job in 2011, Robison has missed just one start. Robison acknowledged third-year player Danielle Hunter could be in position to snare his starting job at some point in the near future, but the veteran’s skill set could probably be used as a pass-rushing-specific capacity in that event.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings, Brian Robison Agree To Extension

Defensive end Brian Robison has agreed to a contract extension with the Vikings, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In essence, it all amounts to a pay cut. Brian Robison (vertical)

Robison was previously slated to make up to $5.6MM for 2017, with no guaranteed money. Now, he’ll see his base salary go from a non-guaranteed $5.3MM to a fully guaranteed $3.9MM. He can add $100K through a workout bonus, but he forfeits $200K in per-game roster bonuses.

Then, in his additional year (2018), he’ll get a base salary of $3.2MM with $1.25MM guaranteed. He can also add $200K in per-game roster bonuses and $100K through a workout bonus. The overall two-year deal has a $7.5MM base value with $5.15MM guaranteed. Robison has effectively consented to a $1.4MM pay cut in 2017 to add an extra year to his pact.

Robison, 34 in April, had 28 total tackles and 7.5 sacks in 2016. Even at his age, Robison has shown to be both effective and durable. He has averaged 7.0 sacks per season since 2011 and appeared in all but one regular season game for the Vikings during that time. The new deal could allow the lifetime member of the Vikings to retire in purple. Then again, as he continues to rack up sacks, Robison might want to continue playing beyond 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Hardy, Robison, Knighton

Greg Hardy is frustrated that Aldon Smith received a sizable contract from the Raiders while he continues to sit on the shelf, sources tell Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link).

Hardy’s camp is still expecting to land an incentive-laden deal, but interest has not been strong up until this point. According to league sources who spoke with Cole, teams are more concerned about Hardy’s attitude in Dallas last season and stories of his partying than they are about his domestic-abuse allegations.

Here’s some more news from outside the draft realm.

  • Family members are pestering Vikings defensive end Brian Robison to find out about his NFL future and while he’s not certain of what will come next, he does have an idea of what he’d like to do. Robinson says his “ultimate hope” is to play out the remaining two years on his deal, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. The veteran is due to earn a base salary of $3.75MM in 2016 and $5.25MM in 2017. Robison racked up at least eight sacks per season from 2011-13. After that, he recorded 4.5 sacks in 2014 and 5.0 sacks last season. For his efforts in 2015, the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus rated him as the 19th-best defensive end out of 48 qualified players.
  • Terrance Knighton consulted Vince Wilfork before signing his one-year deal with the Patriots, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. A Windsor, Conn., native, Knighton grew up a Patriots fan and followed Wilfork’s career closely. Despite being released last year after 11 seasons in New England, Wilfork expressed consistent praise for the Patriots in a long conversation with Knighton, Reiss reports.
  • The Pats have set Knighton up with a nutritionist and included weight clauses in the defensive tackle’s contract, Reiss reports. Washington listed Knighton at 354 pounds last season, and the eighth-year veteran wouldn’t disclose if that was accurate. Although Knighton told media (including Reiss) he weighs less than that now, he doesn’t have an issue with the Patriots‘ weight clauses. “It’s something I’ve paid a lot of attention to this offseason, and it won’t be a problem,” said Knighton, whose weight has likely played a part in failing to secure a long-term deal the past two offseasons. Last year, I was obviously heavier than I am right now. Contractually, I’ll have weights that I need to hit. Whatever the coaches want me to play at, that’s what I’ll be. [Weight concerns are] something that obviously has been an attack on me my whole career.”
  • Andy Mulumba‘s one-year deal with the Chiefs is worth $620K, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. The outside linebacker’s deal is only guaranteed for $10K, however. Mulumba also gets a $10K workout bonus to go along with his $600K base. The native of the Democratic Republic of Congo became a free agent when Green Bay declined to extend him the low-round tender.
  • In a recent mailbag, a reader asked Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune whether the Bears would give up their first-round pick for Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets are willing to entertain trade offers from Wilkerson, but they’re not desperate enough to move him cheaply. Chicago, meanwhile, likely needs to build through the draft for a few years to put their plan in motion, and a Wilkerson deal would probably weaken its stockpile.
  • Before Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was claimed off waivers by Miami, the Saints, Bills, and Steelers all tried to claim him, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

NFC Notes: Cousins, Reiff, Falcons, Floyd

As noted earlier this afternoon, Washington‘s Scot McCloughan wasn’t on today’s schedule of general managers or head coaches to hold formal press conferences at the combine in Indianapolis. However, he did speak to the media about his team’s contract talks with quarterback Kirk Cousins.

While McCloughan didn’t go into specifics, he said that he has met with Cousins’ agent face-to-face this week, describing the sit-down as “very positive,” per Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link). According to McCloughan, conversations are going on “every day” between the two sides, and he remains optimistic that something will get done (Twitter link).

Let’s round up several more of the latest GM and head coach comments from the combine in Indianapolis, with a focus on NFC teams….

  • Lions tackle Riley Reiff is currently set to earn an $8.07MM salary for 2016, and while that money isn’t yet guaranteed, Reiff won’t be going anywhere, GM Bob Quinn said today (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). It’s not clear yet what position Reiff will play next season, but he’ll be a Lion.
  • Speaking to the media today, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that he’d like to see defensive free agents Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield re-signed, and added that no veterans besides Paul Soliai have been approached about restructuring their contracts (Twitter links via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ESPN’s Vaughn McClure).
  • There’s no new deal imminent for Michael Floyd, but GM Steve Keim had plenty of praise for the Cardinals wideout, as Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com details. Floyd is extension-eligible but still has one year left on his rookie contract, so Arizona doesn’t have to get anything done right away.
  • Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed today that wide receiver Kevin Norwood met the conditions of the trade Carolina made with Seattle prior to the 2015 season, so the Seahawks will receive the Panthers‘ seventh-round pick in 2017, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Despite a fairly sizable cap hit for 2016, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison sounds like a good bet to remain on Minnesota’s roster based on comments made today by GM Rick Spielman, says Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune.