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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Does Brian Robison have a future with the Vikings?

By Matthew Coller

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Brian Robison had to tip his cap to Danielle Hunter.

On locker cleanout day, Robison admitted that Hunter, who was fifth in the NFL in sacks in 2016, earned the right to play even more next year.

“He’s probably done enough to earn a starting position next year,” Robison said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s done a lot of great work.”

Robison knows what Hunter’s success could mean for his own career as a Viking. With the team looking to spend in free agency, the 33-year-old defensive end and his $6.8 million cap hit (with only $1 million in dead money) could be let go.

It wouldn’t seem wise to keep a veteran backup at that price considering Vikings are in desperate need of improvement at left and right tackle and possibly in the market for a wide receiver and starting nickel corner if they don’t keep free agents Cordarrelle Patterson and Captain Munnerlyn.

Restructuring Robison’s contract could be the best course of action, but that’s only if they see him as a valuable piece to the defense’s puzzle and he is willing to drop his price significantly.

While the Viking-for-life had 7.5 sacks, his highest mark since 2013, the tape-watching graders at Pro Football Focus were not convinced he’d found the fountain of youth. PFF ranked him as the 89th best defensive end out of 109 qualifiers and gave Robison the lowest marks of his career.

On the free agent market, there are 28 available defensive ends with over 100 snaps that were graded higher.

That’s not to say Robison couldn’t be useful as a role player. A major part of his poor grade was his defense against the run, which ranked 103rd. His pass rushing was mid-pack at 57th, which is about where you would expect a second-string defensive end to be. Versatility helps his argument, too. Robison was often on the field in a defensive tackle spot on third downs in obvious passing situations.

Intangibles might be a part of the conversation, too. It can be hard to say which players are respected leaders just by being in the locker room for the allotted media time, but it’s safe to say that Robison represents the franchise well and is a fountain of knowledge for younger players.

Speaking of younger players, 2016 seventh-round pick Stephen Weatherly’s progress might make a difference in the Vikings’ decision. At last year’s combine, the lanky D-end ran a 4.61 40-yard dash. That type of athleticism combined with a year of experience might push Weatherly toward a backup spot. Of course, only the Vikings would have an idea of his progress since he rarely saw the field in 2016.

It wouldn’t seem likely that the Vikings would want to put the pressure on Weatherly to take the load if either Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter got hurt, so they will need to spend some cap space or a draft pick on the position. Whether that’s on Robison or not is yet to be seen.

The post Does Brian Robison have a future with the Vikings? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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