Notebook: Robison exposes generous matchup

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison had a career game, taking full advantage of a favorable matchup. Plus, Jerome Simpson had an impact in his return, there was good news and bad news in the red zone, penalties cost the Vikings some big plays, and more notes.

Brian Robison insisted he didn't have a number of sacks in mind entering Sunday's 21-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals, but there was one number – 9.5 – that indicated a big game could be on the horizon for Robison.

The Vikings' left defensive end entered the Vikings' seventh game of the season with only one sack, but he was going against rookie right tackle Bobby Massie, who led the league, according to STATS LLC, with 9.5 sacks surrendered.

Robison took full advantage.

"I just took what I saw. There were some times he overset me and spun inside. There were times that I was able to beat him off the ball and get around the edge," Robison said. "They did a good job of drawing me offside at the end of the game. You always wish you could have that back. I just knew that I wanted to go out there and play 100 percent like I always do and good things will come."

Robison had at least three "good things" happen, as he exploded for the first three-sack game of his career. One of those included a forced fumble that the Vikings recovered.

Asked if he had a number of sacks he was targeting entering the game, Robison said "absolutely not," but it would have been hard to blame him. The Cardinals' struggles on the offensive line were coming into the forefront over the last month. They entered the game with a league-worst 28 sacks surrendered – 22 of those in the last three games. The Vikings continued that average with seven of their own Sunday.

Robison had three. Jared Allen had two, his first multi-sack game of the season, and Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield each added one.

"They all wanted to get in there and rush the passer and fortunately we got up a couple of scores where we could and there ended up being some drop-back situations," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Brian had a terrific game. We worked all week long, (defensive line coach) Brendan Daly did, with our D-line and what we thought our best rushes were against their offensive line. I think every guy on our defensive line got pressure on the quarterback at some point so kudos to our defensive line. We needed that pressure."

Robison got the best of it and brought Massie's sacks surrendered total to 12.5 on the season.

"I felt good. I was able to get after the passer," Robison said. "I think my elbow is getting a little better. But, bottom line, that's beside the point. For me, it was about going out there and just trying to play my ballgame and not let them dictate what I do."

It was likely the best game of Robison's career.

"Three sacks. The numbers say it," he said. "I'm hoping next week will be the best game of my career. We'll see."

SIMPSON IMPACT

WR Jerome Simpson returned to action after sitting out against the Washington Redskins with back and foot issues. Simpson made the start and played 73 percent of the snaps. He only had one catch for 8 yards, but he made a big impact when he drew a 29-yard pass interference penalty on the Vikings' first touchdown drive.

After that, he said, the Cardinals started to pay more attention to him.

"They started to put their safety over me and kind of put their corner underneath me. They tried to just bracket me so they kind of took a little bit away with what we like to do with me," said Simpson, who was pleased with the amount of snaps he received.

RED ZONE REDO

After a week spent concentrating on their red zone offense, there was good news and bad news for the Vikings. The good news: They were 100 percent scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The bad news: They only advanced inside the 20-yard line twice.

The first time came after Simpson drew pass interference at the 13-yard line. Adrian Peterson quickly finished the drive with a 13-yard cutback run.

"We want 28 (Peterson) to run it in any time we get in the red zone. That's one thing that we kind of got away from that we're going to get back to," said WR Percy Harvin. "So anytime we get in the red zone, our first thing to do is to run it in with Adrian. If that don't work, try it again. If that don't work, try it again. If that don't work, we'll try something else. But our first objective is to try and run the ball."

And after the Vikings were criticized for only having Harvin involved in four of the first nine snaps inside the 20-yard line against Washington, he got the Vikings' second touchdown. On his touchdown, he motioned behind the line of scrimmage, caught a pass in the flat and had just enough room to get past CB Patrick Peterson and stretch for the end zone.

"It's a great play vs. man. You know, my man has to go through the linebackers and kind of go through the clouds," Harvin said. "So the thing is to get a mismatch and to get him to run through the cloud, which most people can't do."

CRITICAL PENALTIES

The Vikings would have had a touchdown to start the game on Harvin's 103-yard return of the opening kickoff, but LB Marvin Mitchell was flagged for a block in the back.

"Percy, it was a great start to the game just to get it started. I wish it would have counted as a touchdown, but it still got us the momentum that we needed," Simpson said.

The Vikings went three-and-out on that drive, but scored on their next possession.

Chris Cook also had an interception called back because Robison was offside, but QB John Skelton might not have thrown that pass if not for the flag flying.

NOTES

  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph was targeted four times but held without a reception for the first time this season.

    "You can't worry about targets," Rudolph said. "Obviously I'd love to be a part of the pass game every week, but I had a lot of things to do this week in pass protection and a lot of big things in the run game. I felt like that's where the effort was today. Any time you get a win, you don't worry about it."

  • The Vikings came away impressed with Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who had 20 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was the first running back the Vikings allowed to reach 100 yards this season (QB Robert Griffin III did it last Sunday).

    "Credit number 36 (Stephens-Howling)," CB Antoine Winfield said. "That little guy was shifty. He is a real good player. In the open field he is probably one of the toughest running backs we have faced. He made a lot of guys miss, but that is something we can't continue to do."

    Howling said the Cardinals' offensive linemen were tired of hearing about the Vikings' defensive line.

    "Our line responded. All they heard about was this D-Line from Minnesota this week, so they did a great job getting me holes up front," Howling said.

  • Simpson says his back injury is a thing of the past: "It's healed. It's good."

  • Former Cretin-Derham Hall receiver Michael Floyd, now playing for the Cardinals, said he had to pay for about 30 tickets for family and friends in the area. Floyd had just one catch for 7 yards while former Holy Angels receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. was held to four catches for 29 yards.

  • Former Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer blew the ceremonial Gjallarhorn before the game.


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



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Brian Robison insisted he didn't have a number of sacks in mind entering Sunday's 21-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals, but there was one number – 9.5 – that indicated a big game could be on the horizon for Robison. The Vikings' left defensive end entered the Vikings' seventh game of the season with only one sack, but he was going against rookie right tackle Bobby Massie, who led the league, according to STATS LLC, with 9.5 sacks surrendered. Robison took full advantage. \"I just took what I saw. There were some times he overset me and spun inside. There were times that I was able to beat him off the ball and get around the edge,\" Robison said. \"They did a good job of drawing me offside at the end of the game. You always wish you could have that back. I just knew that I wanted to go out there and play 100 percent like I always do and good things will come.\" Robison had at least three \"good things\" happen, as he exploded for the first three-sack game of his career. One of those included a forced fumble that the Vikings recovered. Asked if he had a number of sacks he was targeting entering the game, Robison said \"absolutely not,\" but it would have been hard to blame him. The Cardinals' struggles on the offensive line were coming into the forefront over the last month. They entered the game with a league-worst 28 sacks surrendered – 22 of those in the last three games. The Vikings continued that average with seven of their own Sunday. Robison had three. Jared Allen had two, his first multi-sack game of the season, and Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield each added one. \"They all wanted to get in there and rush the passer and fortunately we got up a couple of scores where we could and there ended up being some drop-back situations,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. \"Brian had a terrific game. We worked all week long, (defensive line coach) Brendan Daly did, with our D-line and what we thought our best rushes were against their offensive line. I think every guy on our defensive line got pressure on the quarterback at some point so kudos to our defensive line. We needed that pressure.\" Robison got the best of it and brought Massie's sacks surrendered total to 12.5 on the season. \"I felt good. I was able to get after the passer,\" Robison said. \"I think my elbow is getting a little better. But, bottom line, that's beside the point. For me, it was about going out there and just trying to play my ballgame and not let them dictate what I do.\" It was likely the best game of Robison's career. \"Three sacks. The numbers say it,\" he said. \"I'm hoping next week will be the best game of my career. We'll see.\" WR Jerome Simpson returned to action after sitting out against the Washington Redskins with back and foot issues. Simpson made the start and played 73 percent of the snaps. He only had one catch for 8 yards, but he made a big impact when he drew a 29-yard pass interference penalty on the Vikings' first touchdown drive. After that, he said, the Cardinals started to pay more attention to him. \"They started to put their safety over me and kind of put their corner underneath me. They tried to just bracket me so they kind of took a little bit away with what we like to do with me,\" said Simpson, who was pleased with the amount of snaps he received. After a week spent concentrating on their red zone offense, there was good news and bad news for the Vikings. The good news: They were 100 percent scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The bad news: They only advanced inside the 20-yard line twice. The first time came after Simpson drew pass interference at the 13-yard line. Adrian Peterson quickly finished the drive with a 13-yard cutback run. \"We want 28 (Peterson) to run it in any time we get in the red zone. That's one thing that we kind of got away from that we're going to get back to,\" said WR Percy Harvin. \"So anytime we get in the red zone, our first thing to do is to run it in with Adrian. If that don't work, try it again. If that don't work, try it again. If that don't work, we'll try something else. But our first objective is to try and run the ball.\" And after the Vikings were criticized for only having Harvin involved in four of the first nine snaps inside the 20-yard line against Washington, he got the Vikings' second touchdown. On his touchdown, he motioned behind the line of scrimmage, caught a pass in the flat and had just enough room to get past CB Patrick Peterson and stretch for the end zone. \"It's a great play vs. man. You know, my man has to go through the linebackers and kind of go through the clouds,\" Harvin said. \"So the thing is to get a mismatch and to get him to run through the cloud, which most people can't do.\" The Vikings would have had a touchdown to start the game on Harvin's 103-yard return of the opening kickoff, but LB Marvin Mitchell was flagged for a block in the back. \"Percy, it was a great start to the game just to get it started. I wish it would have counted as a touchdown, but it still got us the momentum that we needed,\" Simpson said. The Vikings went three-and-out on that drive, but scored on their next possession. Chris Cook also had an interception called back because Robison was offside, but QB John Skelton might not have thrown that pass if not for the flag flying.
  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph was targeted four times but held without a reception for the first time this season. \"You can't worry about targets,\" Rudolph said. \"Obviously I'd love to be a part of the pass game every week, but I had a lot of things to do this week in pass protection and a lot of big things in the run game. I felt like that's where the effort was today. Any time you get a win, you don't worry about it.\"
  • The Vikings came away impressed with Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who had 20 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was the first running back the Vikings allowed to reach 100 yards this season (QB Robert Griffin III did it last Sunday). \"Credit number 36 (Stephens-Howling),\" CB Antoine Winfield said. \"That little guy was shifty. He is a real good player. In the open field he is probably one of the toughest running backs we have faced. He made a lot of guys miss, but that is something we can't continue to do.\" Howling said the Cardinals' offensive linemen were tired of hearing about the Vikings' defensive line. \"Our line responded. All they heard about was this D-Line from Minnesota this week, so they did a great job getting me holes up front,\" Howling said.
  • Simpson says his back injury is a thing of the past: \"It's healed. It's good.\"
  • Former Cretin-Derham Hall receiver Michael Floyd, now playing for the Cardinals, said he had to pay for about 30 tickets for family and friends in the area. Floyd had just one catch for 7 yards while former Holy Angels receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. was held to four catches for 29 yards.
  • Former Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer blew the ceremonial Gjallarhorn before the game.
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