Robinson more comfortable outside upon return

Josh Robinson isn't expected to return from a chest injury this week, but he's hoping to build off some pre-injury momentum and position stability he was getting just before his injury.

Josh Robinson isn't expected back on the job until at least next week, but he characterized his progress last week as "slowly getting better."

Robison suffered a fractured sternum Nov. 17 against the Seattle Seahawks and hasn't played since.

The cornerback said he had this week in mind to test it out, but it now appears as if it will be delayed at least another week.

"He's making some progress but not to the point where he's going to be ready for this ballgame," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "So, we'll have to make a decision on how we want to go forward with him as I learn a little bit more about the likelihood of his playing maybe in the following game that will determine what we do with him going forward."

Said Robinson: "I think it's something where we're not going to put me out there if I'm still feeling pain. If I don't have pain, then I'll see how I feel in practice, take a little contact just to see how I feel, and go from there."

Robinson said last week he can still feel some pain in the chest area with certain exercises or putting pressuring there.

When Christian Ponder suffered a fractured rib on Sept. 22, the Vikings said one of their concerns was that it was close to his heart. Robinson said his organs checked out fine after his chest injury.

"Initially, those are things you focus on – the ribs and heart and lungs and all those different things, and just making sure none of those things have been bothered," he said. "They did a test to make sure all of them were well and they were. Not really something that I'm worried about now. Now it's just really allowing that bone to heal up so I don't mess it up more or suffer any serious injury."

An injury is never good, but it was made worse for Robinson by the timing of it. One of the most heavily criticized players to start the season, he was starting to play better and more consistently before the injury.

He said the difference for him was being allowed to stay as the outside cornerback when the Vikings went to their nickel defense. Throughout much of the first half of the season Robinson was asked to slide inside and play the slot receiver in the nickel defense, a move that also asked him to offer more support in the running game.

"To me, it's like playing two different positions. Of course, you're still covering a receiver at times, but it's like playing linebacker and playing corner," he said. "To go back and forth, it's different, something you get used to. Slowly, I was getting used to it."

But with Chris Cook out for two games in early November with a hip injury, Robinson was allowed to stay on the outside with Marcus Sherels being asked to play a bigger role as the nickel cornerback. More recently, safety Robert Blanton has been filling that role, too.

"(Outside) is where I enjoy. And them just taking nickel reps off of me, that's what I think it really was," he said of him starting to play better before the injury.
"I definitely was getting better with certain techniques and things they were asking me to do and had a lot of confidence. I'm really just waiting again, waiting to get back out there and put some better things on tape. That's the goal, try to be more consistent."

With Xavier Rhodes likely out this week with a sprained ankle and Robinson still out with his chest injury, the Vikings will be short-handed on experienced cornerbacks and have to piece it together once Robinson returns.

"If they ask me to go back inside, I'll give my best shot and work on it and try to get better," Robinson said. "If they ask me to go outside, just do what I do, do what I'm comfortable doing."

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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