Injuries Dropped Robison's Draft Stock

Were it not for a string of injuries in his senior season, Texas defensive end figures he would have gone higher than the fourth-round tabbing the Vikings had on him.

Becoming a member of the NFL isn't easy. It's an elite fraternity that has former players that had little more than a cup of coffee for a week of training camp claiming later on their resumes that they were once in the NFL.

Just getting to the show is difficult enough, but when you seem to be your own worst enemy, it can be a killer.

The Vikings moved up in the fourth round of the draft Sunday to take defensive end Brian Robison from the University of Texas. Coming off a solid junior season, Robison came into his senior year expecting to be a second- or third-rounder. But thanks to a string of maladies ranging from pneumonia to a bone bruise to an ankle sprain, Robison spent almost the entire 2006 at less than 100 percent – and that showed on draft weekend.

"I think it caused a lot of it," Robison said of his drop to Day Two. "I had high, high expectations coming into this year. I was coming off a good junior year and I had lost some weight. I had got quicker and faster, so I was looking forward to (his senior) year. I didn't come up with the production I wanted, but I still think I'm a great football player and I'm going to willing to prove that when I get to Minnesota."

A natural handicap Robison may have to face in the NFL is the tag of being a ‘tweener – viewed as too small to be an effective pro defensive end and too slow to be an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He excelled on special teams, setting the Longhorns school record with six blocked kicks thanks in large part to a 40½-inch vertical jump he showed as the Combine that, according to him, has been measured as high as 44 inches. He knows that early on, his contribution will be primarily as a special teams performer.

"As a young player coming into the league, I know (special teams) is where I'm going to have my impact first," Robison said. "I'm going to try to be on as many special teams (units) as I can and make sure that I help the team out in any way I possibly can."

The drafting of Robison is the second straight year the Vikings have selected a member of the Longhorns defense on draft day. Last year the team took Cedric Griffin in the second round.

But perhaps even nicer for Robison than being reunited with Griffin is that he is no longer a rival of running back Adrian Peterson. That irony wasn't lost on Robison, who said family and friends joked with him about not having to chase after Peterson anymore on game days – just in practice.

"We were archenemies in college and now we're going to be teammates," Robison said with a laugh. "Adrian Peterson is a fantastic player and I'm looking forward to being on his team."

Whatever role Robison finds with the team, he's looking ahead to proving that the Vikings got themselves a value on the fourth round.

"I'm ready to go," Robison said.

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