Jeff Robinson's ascendance in the Vikings' front office continued this offseason as he was given the title of coordinator of pro personnel. Robinson, who joined the Vikings as a public relations intern in 1990, had spent the previous five seasons as the team's pro personnel scout.
In his new role, Robinson will assume some of the duties that had been handled by coordinator of pro scouting Paul Wiggin, who has cut back his duties with the organization after having bladder surgery during the offseason. Wiggin will focus on scouting the Vikings' opponents.
"My duties will be similar to what they were before," Robinson said. "I'll be doing a little bit of college scouting and a lot of pro scouting. With Paul going into semi-retirement it has increased my workload, as far as the positions that I'll be responsible for scouting, which will now include the quarterbacks and running backs as well as the wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs. It also will increase what I have to do as far as free agency goes, just because of the fact Paul will be gone (during the offseason)."
Robinson, a Minneapolis native who started for three seasons as a cornerback at Northwestern, said he will see plenty of college games early in the season and then start to concentrate on the NFL after that.
"(Paul and I) always have split the advance work," Robinson said. "(Pro personnel scout) John Kiwala will help us out with a couple of advance scouting assignments as well. But basically that work we split down the middle. I try to get in a lot of my college games early in the year before their season is out.
"Paul goes out and gets most of the early (NFL games), and as it gets toward November, December and January then we kind of split the NFL work up more evenly. That helps me to get all of my college stuff out of the way first, and then I can zero in on just the pro side of it."
Robinson, by the way, said Wiggin is doing very well.
The Vikings have the most difficult schedule in the NFL this season and Robinson does not try and sugarcoat it. "It's brutal," he said. "One of the reasons why it is so tough is because of the teams we have to play twice every season."
Of course, he's talking about the Vikings' opponents in the NFC Central. Asked to size up the division, Robinson said: "I think every team in this division has helped themselves in one form or another. Obviously, Tampa Bay is a team that people are speaking very highly about. Detroit is another team people are speaking highly about because of the changes they have made. You always know with Green Bay you have got Brett Favre to deal with.
"And Chicago has done a lot as far as its youth and its defense to enhance its first team. I don't think you could say there is really a weak link in the NFC Central. And with the schedule we have, that makes it that much tougher."
Robinson feels several teams outside of the NFC Central also made upgrades during the offseason, including the Chargers, who now have Doug Flutie starting at quarterback. "I think San Diego is on its way," he said. "They lost a lot of games last year (the Chargers were 1-15), but you could see that they just needed a couple of key components. I think they have helped themselves immensely with the people they have acquired through free agency and the draft.
"Even a team like Cincinnati. They knew they needed quarterback help to stabilize things and help a guy like Akili Smith. They have done that (by signing Jon Kitna). A lot of it is more or less just how fast, when you make these changes, that you can put yourself together. I think more so than anything, the strong teams like Denver helped themselves a lot. Tennessee helped itself a lot, too. Not by getting a lot of guys, but just one or two little integral parts."
Robinson Moving Up Front Office Ranks
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