Notebook: Robison inquired about dirty play

Brian Robinson inquired to a Tennessee Titan about accusations of dirty play but didn't experience any himself. Plus, Rhett Ellison's production is increasing, but will it stay on the uptick? And we delve into the Vikings' spot in the rankings after five weeks.

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison was informed last week that Tennessee Titans right tackle David Stewart had been accused of dirty play by multiple defenders on the Houston Texans, the Titans' opponent the previous week.

Robison didn't take long to inquire about that once the game between the Vikings and Titans started Sunday.

"I said it like the first play. I was like, ‘We don't need none of that dirty stuff today,'" Robison said. "He was like, ‘Oh, are you talking about the Texans?' I was like, ‘Yep.'"

Stewart was called for two unnecessary roughness penalties within a two-minute, five-second stretch in the fourth quarter of the Titans' 38-14 loss to the Texans the previous week. One of those penalties stalled a drive.

He was accused of pulling hair and throwing punches.

"I saw some things I've never seen before," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith told the Houston Chronicle. "I saw him try to pull (linebacker Brooks Reed's) hair out, tried to ride somebody's back, which I thought was kind of funny, actually."

Robison has long hair, too, which made the matchup interesting beyond just the typical pushing and shoving matches that occur in every game between defensive ends and offensive tackles.

"Actually, he didn't do anything this week and I was like, ‘Why are we watching you on film and you're trying to maul people and everything else?'" Robison said. "He was like, ‘I hate the Houston Texans.' So I guess it's just a rivalry thing with him."

ELLISON INCREASING TIME

Fourth-round pick Rhett Ellison's career started with a crawl. He's been active every game, but he played only three offensive snaps in the opener and eight in the second game. However, his playing time has been on the increase since then.

In the third game, against the San Francisco 49ers, he played 19 snaps (24 percent). After playing in 10 snaps against the Lions, he had 22 snaps Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, representing 32 percent of the plays. But Vikings coach Leslie Frazier cautioned that Ellison's playing time isn't expected to increase at the expense of Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson.

"We still like what Kyle is doing. We like the things that John is doing. We'd like to be able to get the ball to John Little bit more and get him more involved," Frazier said.

Carlson, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings in March, has only two catches for one yard this season. Rudolph has fared much better with 19 catches for 169 yards (both second on the team) and a team-best four touchdowns.

Elllison had two catches for 35 yards Sunday against the Titans, his first action in the passing game this season.

"Rhett is about where we'd like for him to be at this point as he continues to grow and develop. I don't think we'll take any snaps from the other two guys to give him more snaps," Frazier said. "We will get him in the rotation and continue to grow him as a player but not at the expense of Kyle or John at this point."

STATS LEADERS

After five weeks, the Vikings have the 20th-ranked offense (ninth rushing, 24th passing) and seventh-ranked defense (sixth vs. the run, 14th vs. the pass).

In the NFC North, only Detroit has a significantly better offense, ranking third, thanks to a second-ranked passing attack. Chicago (19th) and Green Bay (21st) sandwich the Vikings' 20th ranking on offense.

Defensively, the Vikings just barely trail the Chicago Bears, ranked sixth because of a second-ranked run defense, and are ahead of the Lions (ninth) and Packers (16th).

In addition to being ninth in rushing yards per game, the Vikings are 11th in rushing yards per attempt.

Quarterback Christian Ponder is fifth in percentage of passes intercepted. While he is only 10th in overall passer rating, he is fourth in fourth-quarter passer rating at 118.4, but he hasn't been nearly as proficient on third downs, ranking 22nd with a 74.4 rating.

Adrian Peterson is eighth with 420 yards rushing and Percy Harvin is second with 38 receptions for 407 yards (11th). Harvin is tied for 10th with 26 first downs (22 receiving, four rushing) and Peterson is tied for 14th with 25 (21 rushing, four receiving). Rudolph is in a fifth-place logjam for leading scorers among non-kickers with four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Vikings have a number of top-10 rankings. Besides being seventh in total defense, they are second in yards per play and rushing yards per attempt, fourth in net passing yards per play and sixth in rushing yards per play, points per game and point differential per game.

The scoring statistics are helped by the Vikings being fifth in the red zone, giving up touchdowns on only 35.7 percent of teams' trips inside the 20-yard line.

On special teams, Harvin is first in kickoff return average at 38.3 yards, four yards more than anyone else. Marcus Sherels has the Vikings fourth in punt-return average at 14.9 yards. Blair Walsh is tied for seventh with 17 touchbacks. Last year, the Vikings had 19 for the entire season.

Harvin's big start returning kicks has the Vikings second in average starting position after a kickoff, at the 27.1-yard line. Conversely, the team is 26th defending the kickoff, allowing opponents an average starting position of the 23.7-yard line.

So, where else has the team struggled? The Vikings are dead last in opponents' kickoff return average, 27th in percentage of passes intercepted on defense and 26th in third-down percentage on offense. Despite the lack of interceptions on defense, the Vikings are still plus-1 in turnover differential because they have been taking care of the ball on offense and getting five fumble recoveries.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Vikings defensive end Brian Robison was informed last week that Tennessee Titans right tackle David Stewart had been accused of dirty play by multiple defenders on the Houston Texans, the Titans' opponent the previous week. Robison didn't take long to inquire about that once the game between the Vikings and Titans started Sunday. \"I said it like the first play. I was like, ‘We don't need none of that dirty stuff today,'\" Robison said. \"He was like, ‘Oh, are you talking about the Texans?' I was like, ‘Yep.'\" Stewart was called for two unnecessary roughness penalties within a two-minute, five-second stretch in the fourth quarter of the Titans' 38-14 loss to the Texans the previous week. One of those penalties stalled a drive. He was accused of pulling hair and throwing punches. \"I saw some things I've never seen before,\" Texans defensive end Antonio Smith told the Houston Chronicle. \"I saw him try to pull (linebacker Brooks Reed's) hair out, tried to ride somebody's back, which I thought was kind of funny, actually.\" Robison has long hair, too, which made the matchup interesting beyond just the typical pushing and shoving matches that occur in every game between defensive ends and offensive tackles. \"Actually, he didn't do anything this week and I was like, ‘Why are we watching you on film and you're trying to maul people and everything else?'\" Robison said. \"He was like, ‘I hate the Houston Texans.' So I guess it's just a rivalry thing with him.\" Fourth-round pick Rhett Ellison's career started with a crawl. He's been active every game, but he played only three offensive snaps in the opener and eight in the second game. However, his playing time has been on the increase since then. In the third game, against the San Francisco 49ers, he played 19 snaps (24 percent). After playing in 10 snaps against the Lions, he had 22 snaps Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, representing 32 percent of the plays. But Vikings coach Leslie Frazier cautioned that Ellison's playing time isn't expected to increase at the expense of Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. \"We still like what Kyle is doing. We like the things that John is doing. We'd like to be able to get the ball to John Little bit more and get him more involved,\" Frazier said. Carlson, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings in March, has only two catches for one yard this season. Rudolph has fared much better with 19 catches for 169 yards (both second on the team) and a team-best four touchdowns. Elllison had two catches for 35 yards Sunday against the Titans, his first action in the passing game this season. \"Rhett is about where we'd like for him to be at this point as he continues to grow and develop. I don't think we'll take any snaps from the other two guys to give him more snaps,\" Frazier said. \"We will get him in the rotation and continue to grow him as a player but not at the expense of Kyle or John at this point.\" After five weeks, the Vikings have the 20th-ranked offense (ninth rushing, 24th passing) and seventh-ranked defense (sixth vs. the run, 14th vs. the pass). In the NFC North, only Detroit has a significantly better offense, ranking third, thanks to a second-ranked passing attack. Chicago (19th) and Green Bay (21st) sandwich the Vikings' 20th ranking on offense. Defensively, the Vikings just barely trail the Chicago Bears, ranked sixth because of a second-ranked run defense, and are ahead of the Lions (ninth) and Packers (16th). In addition to being ninth in rushing yards per game, the Vikings are 11th in rushing yards per attempt. Quarterback Christian Ponder is fifth in percentage of passes intercepted. While he is only 10th in overall passer rating, he is fourth in fourth-quarter passer rating at 118.4, but he hasn't been nearly as proficient on third downs, ranking 22nd with a 74.4 rating. Adrian Peterson is eighth with 420 yards rushing and Percy Harvin is second with 38 receptions for 407 yards (11th). Harvin is tied for 10th with 26 first downs (22 receiving, four rushing) and Peterson is tied for 14th with 25 (21 rushing, four receiving). Rudolph is in a fifth-place logjam for leading scorers among non-kickers with four touchdowns. Defensively, the Vikings have a number of top-10 rankings. Besides being seventh in total defense, they are second in yards per play and rushing yards per attempt, fourth in net passing yards per play and sixth in rushing yards per play, points per game and point differential per game. The scoring statistics are helped by the Vikings being fifth in the red zone, giving up touchdowns on only 35.7 percent of teams' trips inside the 20-yard line. On special teams, Harvin is first in kickoff return average at 38.3 yards, four yards more than anyone else. Marcus Sherels has the Vikings fourth in punt-return average at 14.9 yards. Blair Walsh is tied for seventh with 17 touchbacks. Last year, the Vikings had 19 for the entire season. Harvin's big start returning kicks has the Vikings second in average starting position after a kickoff, at the 27.1-yard line. Conversely, the team is 26th defending the kickoff, allowing opponents an average starting position of the 23.7-yard line. So, where else has the team struggled? The Vikings are dead last in opponents' kickoff return average, 27th in percentage of passes intercepted on defense and 26th in third-down percentage on offense. Despite the lack of interceptions on defense, the Vikings are still plus-1 in turnover differential because they have been taking care of the ball on offense and getting five fumble recoveries. 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