Brian Robison entered the league with a bit of that attitude, but now he literally has a chip on his right shoulder after an injury last season didn't require surgery but is expected to leave a bump about the size of a quarter on his shoulder, one that is visible with a shirt covering it.
"I've still got a little deformity there with the bone popping up. It's still there and it's going to be there," Robison said.
"They say it's pretty permanent. It's been good. I've been getting strong in the weight room and been feeling good on the field so far, so it's been going well."
At the end of last season, Robison said he felt a little like RoboCop after the Grade 3 sprain of his AC joint forced his shoulder into a harness and he also played with a brace on his elbow. Neither required surgery, but Robison admitted it affected him quite a bit.
"A lot. It really did. There was some times out there where that, paired along with the elbow brace that I was wearing, I felt like a lot of times I was playing with no arms out there and it was kind of a weird deal," he said last week. "You can really see in the playoff game when I came back and then six days later we had to play another game, it was one of those deals where it just wasn't ready to go, but the competitor in me didn't want to sit out."
Despite the shoulder injury and partially torn UCL in his elbow, Robison missed only one game and ended up playing in 76 percent of the team's defensive snaps.
At Wednesday's practice, he had two interceptions of Christian Ponder. One came on a pass batted back toward the line of scrimmage by rookie CB Xavier Rhodes and another in which Robison jumped up at the line of scrimmage and pulled the pass out of the air and walked into the end zone.
Robison has been lifting and working out throughout the Vikings' offseason conditioning program and now into organized team activities in preparation for the 2013 season, one he hopes will finally culminate with double-digit sacks.
"I think he's one of those guys that can be a double-digit sack guy," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "He has that type of burst and athleticism. We've seen it on a number of occasions. You just wanted him to be consistent and good throughout 16 games and he's been able to do that in spurts. He's gotten off to some great starts and he's settled down a little bit and then picked it back up."
Last year, Robison had 8½ sacks. In 2011, he had eight sacks, so he has gotten close to double digits each of the last two seasons.
He could use his best season yet as he is one of four defensive ends in the last year of his contract, joining fellow starter Jared Allen, along with Everson Griffen and Lawrence Jackson, who signed a one-year free agent contract with Minnesota this offseason.
"Doing some things in the weight room this year, it took a little while to get back in the groove of things," Robison said. "Now I feel like the shoulder is really strong. It's doing well."
Vikings center John Sullivan had a playground at the Amplatz Children's Hospital open Wednesday after Sullivan donated $150,000 to the project, supported by $25,000 donations by linebacker Chad Greenway's "Lead the Way" Foundation and the Vikings Children's Fund.
"It's such a great cause," Sullivan said in a release about the project. "I just wanted, as soon as I found myself in the position, to do what little I could to give back and just bring some smiles to children's faces. That's what it's all about."
The Sullivan Playground incorporates therapeutic, sensory, and developmental elements, as well as a mix of climbing, sliding, and spinning activities. Swaying benches for parents and children, large motor skills equipment like a climbing net, a "talk tube" and a custom roller slide that allows kids to climb up and slide down without getting IVs tangled up in the equipment.
After Wednesday's practice, the Vikings also hosted 50 athletes from Special Olympics Minnesota for a Punt, Pass and Kick clinic.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.