Listed as questionable on the injury report, it is still as clear as mud whether wide receiver Marcus Robinson will play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. What is crystal clear is the Vikings offense would celebrate his return.
It sounds strange that Robinson, who has made just 13 receptions this season, could make much of an impact by returning, but the Vikings offense is looking for any spark at this point. Robinson, who has missed the last three games because of a bruised lower back, is the only Vikings receiver to have more than one touchdown. In five games, he has made 13 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Vikings receivers have been blamed in recent weeks for numerous dropped passes and routes cut off a yard or two short when they needed first downs. Robinson, one of the veterans of the receiving corps, offers sure hands and a tall target for Brad Johnson.
"Hopefully we get Marcus back," said Johnson, who has thrown just one touchdown and five interceptions in the last two games. "Obviously, when he has been in, in the past, he has made a lot of big plays for us. I feel like I have a good connection there and hopefully we can get him back at full strength."
The Vikings are 0-3 in Robinson's absence over the past three weeks. Robinson said it has been tough to watch in civilian clothes from the sidelines as the offense struggles on the field.
"It's frustrating out there watching plays because there are things I know I could do to help the team," Robinson said.
Asked if he would play Sunday, Robinson said: "I don't know… It all depends upon the coach and what he sees and how he feels. I just have to keep treating (my back) and get better. Every day is a big step for me."
Part of the offense's problem has been a lack of a primary receiver or a deep threat. Through nine games, Travis Taylor leads Vikings wide receivers with 29 catches for 345 yards. Troy Williamson has 25 for 322, Robinson has 13 for 200, Billy McMullen has 11 catches and, in limited time, Bethel Johnson has five catches.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell would love to see Robinson on the field Sunday.
"We've got to see what he can do, how he's going to make it through the rest of the week of practice, but he is one of our big-play receivers," Bevell said Thursday. "He is one of the guys that has been able to get down the field. Any time you get a guy like that back, it can be a spark for you. Is he going to be in there? We've got to see how he reacts through the rest of the week."
In his 10th season, Robinson offers something no receiver other than Taylor can – experience.
"You can't put a premium on that," head coach Brad Childress said. "Obviously, he's got to be out there with all his faculties. He can't be holding back. It's too hard to play this game not having all your tools."
The Vikings, listed Thursday at 3½-point underdogs, are all hoping for Robinson's return Sunday.
"You don't manage to hang around that long if you're not doing something right," Childress said. "He's made plays, he's made plays this year and hopefully he'll make more."
Vikings Hoping Robinson Can Provide Spark
Viking Update Top Stories
Viking Update final mock draft, Round 2A late legal issue forces a former first-round value down to the bottom of the second round in our NFL mock draft, and a couple of other late changes in the second round.
Viking Update11:58 AM
Viking Update final mock draftLate-rising concerns, scheme fits and legal issues cause some minor tweaking in our NFL final mock, just on time for draft day.
Viking Update11:50 AM
Vikes hope Floyd’s knee ‘starts acting right’Minnesota Vikings teammates are hoping Sharrif Floyd returns to full health.
Viking Update5:51 AM
Red flags flying with defensive prospectsWhy are some of the top defensive prospects in the NFL draft going to drop father than their talents indicate they should? Because more than 50 of them have red flags that impact…
Viking Update5:14 AM