The Minnesota Vikings had 10 picks in the 2015 NFL draft. One year after their selection, it’s time to look back on their careers before joining the Vikings, their rookie seasons and a preview of what lies ahead of them during their sophomore seasons.
The Minnesota Vikings ended the 2015 draft with the No. 232 overall pick, selecting outside linebacker Edmond Robinson. He was a bit of a wild card because he had great length and athleticism, but he was a little thin and played at a Division II school where he was mostly used in pass coverage. Still, he was able to pick up head coach Mike Zimmer’s defense fairly quickly and became a nice surprise for the Vikings in 2015.
Before the Vikings
Robinson went to school at Newberry College, a private liberal arts college with an enrollment of just over 1,000 students. The defense that they ran at Newberry was a lot different than what Robinson would experience in the NFL. He played outside linebacker, but his role differed from what an outside linebacker would normally do. He was rarely asked to rush the passer, as his primary role in the defense was to work in pass coverage, sometimes even lining up in the slot, covering receivers one-on-one.
He ended his college career with 200 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Robinson was named First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference in 2013 and finished the 2014 season as his team’s leading tackler (68).
What analysts said
“Tall, lanky developmental prospect that must fill out and gain substantially more play strength to be able to handle the linebacker position. His length and ability to move in space is a little bit intriguing, though.” - NFL.com bottom line
“Long-limbed athlete who impressed at the combine. Raw after being moved all over in college but intriguing.” Sports Xchange, LindysSports.com
“As for the fit, I’d like it more if the Vikings didn’t already spend two selections on linebackers. It’ll be tough for Robinson to make the final roster.” - WalterFootball.com
“From a tiny school (Newberry) and is as freakishly skinny as he is long. Athletic specimen who is boom or bust.” - Brandon Thorn, CBS Sports
Robinson had a bigger learning curve than most rookies do, just because of the lower level of competition he played in college, and the unique role he had in Newberry’s defense. He had intriguing size and athleticism, which is why the Vikings drafted him in the first place, but most people thought he might need a year or two in order to develop.
The original plan heading into training camp was probably to get him used to the level of competition and then place him on the practice squad to further develop him. Things did not work out that way, though, because Robinson had a good showing in the preseason and if the Vikings tried to place him on the practice squad some other team could have signed him to their active roster.
So the Vikings signed Robinson to their 53-man roster to start the regular season, but he remained inactive for the first four games. He then got some work on special teams for the next five weeks coming out of the team’s bye week, but was once again listed as inactive for the three following weeks.
Injuries to the Vikings linebacker corps then forced Robinson into the starting lineup in place of Anthony Barr. It was the Vikings’ Week 14 game against the Arizona Cardinals, who had the No. 1 offense in the NFL at the time, on Thursday night. Robison seemed to be able to hold his own during the game and recorded three tackles.
He ended up playing in nine games during his rookie season, but most of them were as a special teams contributor. He started in two games as a defender, but got to see the field a couple other times. He finished the regular season with nine tackles and one pass defensed.
Robison will likely be a bubble player again this year during training camp and the preseason. The Vikings brought in three linebackers this offseason - Emmanuel Lamur via free agency, Kentrell Brothers in the draft, and Jake Ganus as an undrafted free agent. They also re-signed Audie Cole this offseason, and when you mix all of them with the players already on the roster you get one of the deepest position groups on the team.
There is going to be a lot of competition for the available spots on the 53-man roster coming out of training camp, but Robison seems to be in a good place to secure one of them. He was getting a lot of work with the first-team defense during organized team activities and minicamp with Barr missing time and looking good.
He will have to continue to play well in training camp and the preseason, and prove he can be a value on special teams. If he can do that, though, he should be able to secure a spot on the roster, despite the increased level of competition at his position.