Robison taking on bigger leadership role

Brian Robison is the old man of the defensive line, but he likes the camaraderie of the revamped unit.

For most of his career, Brian Robison has been the young blood of the Vikings defensive line. When he arrived in 2007, the Vikings already had the Williams Wall (Pat and Kevin) in place. A year later, veteran Jared Allen showed up.

From that point since, Robison has been one of the young guys on the defensive line. After a whirlwind offseason, he’s now the old man of the defensive line.

Robison has relished in the transition, seeing a new attitude and new players with the same fire he had when he was younger getting their chance to show what they can do. Mike Zimmer has preached competition to the players and they’ve bought in.

“I think it’s been great,” Robison said. “A lot of guys have come out here ready to work and it’s built a lot of camaraderie and competition with us. I think we’ve done a great job of bringing in guys that build the cohesiveness in our (position) groups and I think it’s going be good for us during the season.”

During one of the preseason games, Robison was miked for sound and was spending much of the game giving tips to younger players about technique and attaining leverage with explosive hand moves. It’s something he’s always passed along, but when it came to a full-fledged leadership role, his was more by example than vocalizing it.

“I’ve always had that kind of role,” Robison said. “But I think with the fact that Jared and Kevin were around, more guys looked to them. I even looked to them to add some things to my game. Now I’m the old guy in the room, so they come to me and ask me certain things. If I see something that might work for them, I go to them and tell them to try it. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team win and if that means helping the younger guys, that’s what I’m going to do.”

As the Vikings begin the Zimmer era in Minnesota, Robison is being counted on more than ever to be a leader. It’s a role he’s waited for since 2007 and it’s one he hopes to use as a catalyst with his younger teammates to be a leader the way he was when the leaders were more established – challenge them to lead by example like he does.

“In this league, you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Robison said. “If every one of your links can be strong, you’re going to be a strong team.”


  • Former Viking Erin Henderson hasn’t found work and the NFL made it harder for that to happen Thursday. The league hit Henderson with a four-game suspension for violations to the league’s substance abuse policy. The suspension can’t begin until after someone signs Henderson, which may be enough to keep him from getting signed.

  • The final injury report will be released today. The Vikings have just three players who haven’t practiced this week – linebackers Michael Mauti (foot) and Brandon Watts (knee) and fullback Zach Line (ankle). Watts won’t play, already being unofficially ruled out by Zimmer.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.

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