The Vikings love you more than they could know. . .whoa, whoa, whoa. . .
(Okay, it doesn't exactly fit. Who am I, Art Garfunkel? Well, I garfunkled your mother. . .how do you like that?)
One of the debates this past off-season consisted of two parts. . .the first part was whether or not the Minnesota Vikings should let free agent defensive end Ray Edwards walk away. Edwards made no secret of the fact that he really wasn't enamored with the Vikings any more, and wanted to move on to a place where he felt he was more respected. . .which, as we all know, is code for "whoever wants to hand me a metric assload of money, I'll put my name on a contract for you." Sure enough, not long after free agency got underway, Edwards beat feet for Atlanta, one of the destinations he had been rumored to be interested in for a long time.
The other half of the debate, then, was whether or not fourth-year man Brian Robison was ready to step in and replace Edwards. Robison, who was Edwards' backup for the past three seasons, had only really been used on a situational basis for Minnesota, spelling Edwards at defensive end and even rotating down to defensive tackle in passing situations. There were concerns whether or not he could hold up as a full-time defensive end against the run while still being able to keep up his pass rush abilities.
Well, if Week One of the 2011 NFL season is any indication, the Vikings have chosen wisely.
Despite the absence of Kevin Williams to occupy people in the middle of the line, Robison made life absolutely miserable for Chargers' right tackle Jeromey Clary on Sunday afternoon. Robison was credited with three tackles, five quarterback pressures and a sack on Sunday afternoon, and also got to Philip Rivers to cause a deflected pass that found its way into the arms of Antoine Winfield.
On the other hand, in his debut against a Chicago offensive line that can charitably be described as "suspect". . .they allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked five times on Sunday. . .Ray Edwards' stat line consisted of one tackle. That's pretty much it.
The folks at Pro Football Focus certainly noticed, as they put Robison on their All-PFF Team for Week 1 of the season, the only Viking to make that team.
If Robison can keep this up all season and the Vikings can hold down the fort for one more week until Kevin Williams comes back, maybe the demise of the Minnesota front four will turn out to be greatly exaggerated.