Robinson doesn’t blame program for injury

Josh Robinson was one of five Minnesota Vikings to suffer a pectoral injury in the last year. While the Vikings have looked into the way they do things, Robinson doesn’t blame the strength staff.

Josh Robinson’s pectoral injury during organized team activities was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” head coach Mike Zimmer said at the outset of training camp.

Robinson was the fourth pectoral injury the Minnesota Vikings had suffered in less than a year. Now that list is up to five after offensive tackle Carter Bykowksi tore his pectoral muscle in Saturday night’s preseason game and was lost for the season. Bykowski had surgery this week that is expected to end his season.

Last year, the Vikings lost starting offensive linemen Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco to the injury. This offseason, starting defensive end Brian Robison suffered the same, if not as severe, injury.

At the start of training camp last month, Zimmer said the team was digging deeper into the causes and prevention of pectoral injuries because, whether by design or just dumb luck, the Vikings have been and continue to be getting hit hard by an injury that isn’t all that common.

“I’ve had our strength coach research, I have our trainer research,” Zimmer said. “We’ve sat down and talked about all these different things – what causes pectoral injuries, what we can do to prevent them and what we can do to help.”

Last week, Robinson, the cornerback that remains on the physical unable to perform list because of his injury in June, said he isn’t sure anything has changed in the weight-lifting or workout routines of the Vikings.

“I don’t know if they’ve changed anything or anything like that. I think the program is a great program,” he said. “I believe in the way they run this program as far as strength and conditioning. I actually went and told the head strength guy I don’t think my injury is because of you. I love the work that we do. I like hard work. I’m from UCF (University of Central Florida) where we work hard.”

Is it just bad luck that the Vikings have had so many pectoral injuries or is there something different they can do to prevent them? In July, Zimmer said they hadn’t found an answer yet.

“We’re not changing how we’re lifting, we’re changing the preparation of how we’re lifting and some of the areas that we’re trying to strengthen more,” Zimmer said. “The rotator cuff seems to be key. From the information I’ve gathered, the rotator cuff, if you’re strong in that area and strong in other areas around the pec that helps to keep those things from happening.”

Zimmer said they have gained some insight on the cause of pectoral injuries.

“I found out a lot. It’s a combination of things, really,” Zimmer said Thursday. “It’s dehydrated muscles, it’s getting in the position, sometimes it’s over-strengthening, sometimes it’s fatigue. Still, we’re calling around to every expert that we can find and keep digging.”

Fusco’s injury happened last September. Loadholt’s was in November. Robison hurt his in May. Robinson’s followed in late June. And now Bykowski’s happened in August. Only Robison’s injury was a weight-room injury; the rest happened in practice (Robinson) or games (Fusco, Loadholt, Bykowski).

Robinson said last week that he wasn’t sure if he would end up on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, which would mean he’s out for at least the first six games. He hadn’t been given a timetable for his return, but he remains sidelined at practices.

“It’s really like a day to day thing. They don’t want me to rush it,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready to go, but they know injuries better than I do. They say I have to wait so I’ll just keep waiting.”

Meanwhile, Robison returned to full-time practice duty in training camp and has played the last two preseason games.

The severity of the pectoral injuries has obviously been different depending on the player, but getting the issues solved, or at least minimized, has to be on the wish list for the Vikings, if not a priority.

“Sometimes these injuries can happen,” Zimmer said at the start of training camp. “I don’t know if they’re preventable, but it’s my job and our responsibility to look at every possible way that we can’t have those.”

The search for answers continues.

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