Robinson Being Counted On

Much of the discussion of off-season acquisitions has centered around Antoine Winfield and Kenechi Udeze. But, many around Winter Park believe Marcus Robinson could be the difference maker on offense.

When Mike Tice introduced fans (and defensive coordinators) to the Randy Ratio, he likely didn't envision the kind of season the Vikings would have in 2003.

In the second year since the departure of Cris Carter, the Vikings again failed to adequately replace him. The two guys they brought in to be that player -- Derrick Alexander and D'Wayne Bates -- were awful and eventually both were released. The numbers from last year speak volumes as to why Marcus Robinson will be under the microscope (and hopefully not an arthroscope) this year.

Last year, Moss caught 111 passes -- exactly the same number as the next two leading receivers combined. The problem with that? Those two players were Moe Williams (65 receptions) and Jim Kleinsasser (46).

When it came to other wide receivers, the Vikings were nothing short of awful. Nate Burleson, Kelly Campbell and Bates combined to catch just 69 passes. Robinson alone is expected to catch that many passes -- and likely equal or better the seven touchdowns the three players combined for last year.

Coach Mike Tice and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan were aggressive in going after Robinson, after the Ravens turned their backs when they thought they had Terrell Owens wrapped up. Now is his chance to finally try to help the Vikings put Carter behind them and move ahead in 2004.

Alexander clearly didn't work. Bates simply didn't have the speed or talent to get the job done. While Robinson has some major injury concerns, this will be his chance to erase the bad memories of the last two seasons and get the Vikings moving ahead in the right direction.

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