Last year, Brian Robison only played on 26 percent of the Vikings' defensive snaps and didn't start a regular-season game. In 2007, the only time the defensive end got to start was when Ray Edwards was suspended.
Robison knows he needs to take advantage of every opportunity he can on a defensive line that features three Pro Bowl players, and Robison's biggest chance was Monday night when Edwards pulled his hamstring and was limited the rest of the game.
Robison registered two tackles, one for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry, leaving him feeling good about his performance.
"Without a doubt. That's all I've been asking for all year is to get more playing time. We had some unfortunate things with Ray that allowed me to get in the game, but I took advantage of the opportunity and I put it on tape. Where we go from here is up to them," Robison said.
Edwards is listed as probable on the injury report after not participating Wednesday, being limited Thursday and practicing fully on Friday. Whatever happens with Edwards, Robison said he learned that lobbying for more playing time doesn't help.
"It's always frustrating when you want to play more than what you're getting, but I do know my role on this team and I try not to get into that," he said. "I've done that before and it does nothing but hurt your play when you're out there. So when I get the opportunity, take advantage of that."
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier echoed that sentiment, saying Robison isn't the type of player to push for more time, no matter how much he wants it.
"He wants to do what's best for the team. He is conscious of his role, (but) he knows who our starters are," Frazier said. "It's on us to find ways to get him on the field. He's not that type of guy where he is going to be moping or complaining about reps at all. When he gets in there he produces."
Robison has been playing defensive end when needed in place of Edwards or Jared Allen, but much of his time previously this year was spent rushing the quarterback on passing downs from an interior line spot, often replacing Pat Williams in passing situations for the offense. The versatility helps get him on the field, but he'd prefer to earn a starting spot at defensive end.
"I think me personally I'd rather be rushing out at the end, but it also gives me a chance to come into the game. At the same time, the more you can do, the more valuable you are," he said. "That's the thing about this league – the more things you can do the more people see it. I think that's something that's going to help me out a lot because it shows that I'm a very versatile player."
Frazier said that versatility adds value to Robison's stock.
"He is a very versatile player for us. He can play inside in rush situations. He can play outside and be as effective. We've seen him on occasion when he has had to play where he has stepped up and played well. Monday night was no different," Frazier said. "We have a lot of confidence in Brian. We always have to remind ourselves that we have to get him more snaps. Whenever he is out on the field he is very productive. It's hard to take Jared off the field. It's hard to take Ray Edwards off the field because those guys have been productive for us as well. We have to find a way to get Brian more snaps. He is a very effective football player for us when he is out there."
He certainly was on Monday night, but his production wasn't a surprise to him.
"That's what I expect to do and that's all I want is the opportunity to be able to get out and show that I can do this every game," he said. "I feel like I got the opportunity and did what I knew how to do."
MORE AWARDS FOR FAVRE
After being named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, Vikings QB Brett Favre also won the fans' vote this week as the FedEx Air Player of the Week.
Favre said on Wednesday he figured his first award had as much to do with who he was playing against as it did with his actual performance.
"I think had those same statistics been against someone else, first of all, other guys probably would have won it because there were some guys with better statistics," Favre said. "I also know that who I was playing against had to do with the results a little bit."
Favre had his best game as a Viking, completing 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 135.3 passer rating.
"Considering how nervous I was before the game or the anxiousness or whatever, I would have guessed that it would have gone differently because of the way I felt," he said. "It's just hard to focus and make good decisions and good throws and things like that. It's like clamming up before a golf shot."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.