Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY

Rookie Edmond Robinson wasn’t overwhelmed with first start for Minnesota Vikings

Linebacker Edmond Robinson got his first start last week with Anthony Barr out and the rookie performed well. He and Mike Zimmer talked about his first start.

The Minnesota Vikings had three rookies making their first NFL start last week against the Arizona Cardinals because of multiple injuries suffered by starters. Trae Waynes and Anthony Harris have gotten a lot of attention for their play in the game, but linebacker Edmond Robinson has slid under the radar.

He did not have a career game by any means, recording just a single tackle and playing in 26 defensive snaps, but he played well enough to get a compliment from his head coach.

“I think he did alright,” Mike Zimmer said of Robinson’s performance. “For the most part, he was in the right place all the time, made a couple plays. Did good.”

Robinson went to Division II Newberry College, which has an enrollment of 1,155 students. That is quite a bit less than the 64,784 fans he played in front of last Thursday and the millions more that watched it on television.

Nobody would have blamed the seventh-round draft pick for being a little nervous or overwhelmed, but he said that was never the case. Instead, he was more excited about the opportunity that was in front of him. 

“I don’t think I felt overwhelmed because at the end of the day it’s just football,” Robinson said. “So most of the time I’ll go out there and I really don’t see the crowd. I don’t see anything. I just go out there and try to do my job and do what I have to do. Make sure I know my keys and am doing everything correctly. Doing what my coaches ask me to do, nothing more, just doing my job and going out there and playing sound football.”

To keep himself calm and in the moment Robinson said that he would often talk to himself throughout plays. Telling himself where to go and what to do in different situations. Doing that helped him keep his mind off the crowd and all the distractions around him and helped him focus on the task in front of him.

Robinson has gotten the chance to play on special teams a couple times throughout the season, but nothing could really prepare him for the intensity he witnessed after the first snap. The speed of the game was a lot faster than anything he had experienced before, but he was able to stay calm and met it head on with his own intensity.

“It was just as fast as what I thought it would have been,” he said. “Definitely it’s more up-tempo than what you see in practice. It was definitely something I was looking forward to and also just looking forward to many more to come in the future.”

The rookie linebacker is not yet sure if his play during Thursday’s game was enough to earn him a bigger role on the defense or not, but he certainly hopes that it did. He wants to be able to make an impact on the defense, but at the same time he understands that there are only so many positions on the defense and there are a lot of other talented players on the team.

“This team is very talented and we’re also loaded at linebacker, so whenever they need me to come in I’ll just go in and do my job,” he said. “But as for now just wait, continue to get better each day in practice and see where it goes from there.”

Robinson filled in for starting linebacker Anthony Barr, who missed the game with a groin injury. It is not yet clear whether Barr will be able to go this weekend against the Chicago Bears or not, as it has been Robinson continuing to work with the starters in practice. But if Barr can’t go for the second straight week, Robinson proved that he has the ability to fill in and not hurt the team.

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