On Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings signed 30-year-old Brian Robison to a four-year extension for $28 million. Robison is guaranteed just $13 million, which is a steal for one of the best pass rushers in the league. Prior to his Week 4 letdown Robison was outperforming Jared Allen on the season according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), and through five weeks, he is still ranked first in the league in QB hurries for defensive ends.
Robison has been a top tier 4-3 defensive end since 2011, as he has the sixth most QB hurries since that time among players at his position. Robison and Allen are the only two defensive players on the Vikings roster to effectively rush the passer this season, which is why they are averaging just 2.5 sacks per game as a unit, which has mostly come from the defensive end position.
Robison has been a member of the Vikings his whole career. Since he started getting solid playing time in 2011, he has recorded 17.5 sacks, giving him an even 31 in his career. Even though the Vikings have the younger Everson Griffin on the roster, who is also a very talented defensive end, they made the right choice in extending Robison because with Allen having turned 31 during the summer and currently in the last year of his contract, this now provides the Vikings with many options going forward.
At the end of the year, or possibly sooner, we will find out if the Vikings will be keeping Allen for the foreseeable future. So far this season, the three defensive ends have combined to play 723 snaps, proving there is plenty of playing time to go around for all if the Vikings decide to go forward with all three on the roster, which would be the wisest move if economically feasible.
Robison will be matching up with the Carolina Panthers‘ right tackle Byron Bell, who PFF ranks as one of their worst offensive lineman and has graded out just a tad below the league average when it comes to pass blocking. While Robison will have a chance to wreck havoc on Sunday, Allen will be going up against the always-tough Jordan Gross who is one of the best left-tackles in all of football. With Allen being tied up with Gross all afternoon, the majority of the pass rushing will come from Robison, who will be relied upon to help carry the defensive unit against Carolina and the always versatile and unpredictable Cam Newton.