The Minnesota Vikings’ final pick of the 2015 draft is expecting to get his first regular-season action on Sunday. The coaching staff informed Edmond Robinson that he will be dressing for the first time this season and getting a chance to play on special teams.
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is excited about finally being able to get Robinson out on the field. He is an athletic linebacker with good size and has been excited about working with him since the day they drafted him out of Newberry College.
“We’ve been training Edmond Robinson since he first got here,” Priefer said. “Edmond is a big, strong young man that can run. He’s smart. People think that just because he didn’t play at a big school that he can’t handle the NFL; I think he’s going to do a great job for us. We expect big things from him on special teams and I look forward to getting him out there.
“I could tell right from the get-go back in May when he got here that he was a young man that will probably end up playing for us at some point, just didn’t know when. We’ve been preparing him for these roles since day one. He’s taken it very seriously, even though he wasn’t playing early, getting a little discouraged like any young player would, he’s hung in there mentally and physically and he’s ready to go.”
Robinson admitted it was hard to sit and wait for his first opportunity to play, but he understood that the team could only dress a certain amount of players for each game. He knew that if he remained patient and continued to work hard that his chance would eventually arrive, and now heading into Week 6 of the regular season that chance is here.
He will only be playing on kickoff coverage and return units but just being out on the field for a regular-season game is enough to get him excited.
“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “It’s been awhile since that last preseason game, so you can just imagine coming out here everyday practicing on your craft trying to get better. But I think the coaches have enough faith in me that I can get the job done.”
Since he is a linebacker, kickoff coverage should not be much of a change from what he is usually asked to do. Players in both spots are required to recognize where the ball carrier is going, shed blocks and finish with a tackle. The tricky thing that Robinson is going to be asked to do is block on the kickoff return.
It’s not too often that defensemen are asked to block another player, but the rookie is not worried about this and believes he will be just fine.
“I’m fine with (blocking) because at the end of the day it’s all football,” he said. “Whatever I can do to help this team get a win, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Ever since I was younger I’ve been doing everything in football, so at the end of the day it’s just football. You go out there and compete against another guy and you make sure you get the job done.”
Even though he is only expected to play on special teams, Robinson knows that there is always a chance that he might see the field on defense. Injuries are always a possibility in the NFL or the coaching staff could think that some other player on the field needs a rest and decide to put Robinson in.
He knows that these are not likely situations, but they are possibilities, which is why he continues to work hard perfecting his craft, so he can feel comfortable while out on the field and help out his team instead of being a liability. And after working in head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense since he has arrived in Minnesota, he believes he is comfortable in it.
“I definitely feel comfortable,” he said. “Of course there are a lot of things you can still polish up on, but if the coaches ended up needing me in a game to go in and play a couple of downs to spare someone, or just to get in and get my feet wet in an actual real game I’m definitely comfortable going out there, knowing my assignment and doing all I can to help my team win.”
A lot of times when a player makes their first start in the NFL, family members will make the trip out to be able to watch them. However, since Robinson did not really find out that he would be playing until Wednesday, his family will not be able to make it to the game.
Instead, he is just hoping that the game goes well and he proves to the coaches that he belongs out on that field. That way his family will have many more opportunities to come out and see him play.
“I don’t think any family members are coming because I didn’t get the nod until yesterday when I was told I’d be playing in this game,” he said. “So I think it’s a little too late for them to catch a flight all the way from South Carolina to here, but just depending on how this game goes and the next few weeks or so, I’m sure they’d love to come watch me play.”