Minnesota Vikings Analysis: Brian Robison extension makes perfect sense

Minnesota Vikings DE Brian Robison is on a one-year deal, but that has changed as the Vikings have reportedly, wisely signed Robison to a four-year extension. The news was reported by the USA Today’s Tom Pelissero on Twitter, and Pelissero was previously a star on the Vikings beat for ESPN 1500. Extending Brian Robison is indeed an extremely wise move for the Minnesota Vikings, and it could Jared Allen expendable.

Allen has been solid this season with 3.5 sacks, and he remains a big pass rushing threat. However, Allen is 32, is on his decline, and he would likely be a very expensive player to re-sign. He isn’t the only Vikings DE with just one year left on his deal, as 25-year-old Everson Griffen is also in a contract year. The Vikings decision to extend Robison had to be an easy one, but choosing between Allen and Griffen is going to be more difficult. From this view, Allen is clearly the better player, because he’s more consistent. But on the flip side, Griffen is much younger, and therefore has more upside (at this point, all Allen has is downside looking forward). Money will likely end up being the main factor for the Vikings here, so we’ll see what happens.

The stat sheet may show that Brian Robison has just one sack this season, but that definitely does not tell the whole story. He’s been even better than Jared Allen this season as a pass rusher despite less sacks, and I would argue that he’s been the best player on a disappointing Minnesota Vikings defense this season. Robison has done an impeccable job of putting consistent pressure on the quarterback, and the 30-year-old is one of the best in the league at doing that.

I am extremely interested in seeing how much money the Vikings gave Robison, because this deal could easily be criticized if the Vikings decided to escalate his pay instead of making it more like a bell curve. Robison isn’t going to get any better once he hits the wrong side of 30, and this extension will take him up until he is 34. That will likely keep him in Minnesota until he fully hits his decline, so I’m not too worried about the Vikings overpaying a player who will potentially slump hard. At the same time, there should always be some healthy speculation on a veteran player’s future prospects.

This deal does make perfect sense to me, because the Vikings pretty much had to get a deal done with one of those three defensive ends early. Choosing Robison- the middle of the three in terms of age- was a no-brainer, because he’s been the best of the three. He has risen up to the challenge through four games this season, and I’m sure Vikings fans have been impressed with him and are happy to see that he will be staying in the Twin Cities for the near future.

It isn’t just about this season, either, as Robison also significantly outplayed both Jared Allen and Everson Griffen last season. Once again, he was much better at putting consistent pressure on the passer, and he came away with eight sacks for the second straight season. While Robison’s sack totals have never been as high as Allen’s, he’s actually been the better pass rusher for the past two seasons and has a brighter future than the 32-year-old.

Perusing the Pro Football Focus, Robison was PFF’s 14th-best 4-3 DE in 2012, and he was also one of their top ten pass rushing ends. Robison is one of the most consistent defensive ends in the NFL, and he’s one of the most underrated defensive players in the league, if you break down the numbers. Consistency is inherently undervalued by many in the NFL, but it’s great to see that the Minnesota Vikings and shrewd GM Rick Spielman don’t fall privy to those amateur traps. This was a great move for the Vikings, and it ensures that they will have at least one key DE locked up. Not only that, but they locked up the best of the bunch.

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Tags: Brian Robison Everson Griffen Jared Allen Minnesota Vikings

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