With Vikings starting left defensive end Ray Edwards expected to miss Sunday’s opening-round playoff game against Philadelphia because of an injury to his left knee, Brian Robison is preparing to start at the position. “I’m going to practice like I would any other week,” Robison said. “I’m not going to make it anything bigger than what it is. I can’t really change up a routine, that’s not good to do.”
Robison, in his second season, had 2.5 sacks in 15 games serving as a backup at both end spots. The 6-3, 259-pound Robison also was used as a tackle in passing situations in order to provide a speedy passing-rushing presence from the inside. He missed the Vikings’ 20-16 victory at Detroit on Dec. 7 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after he hurt it the week before against Chicago. Robison, though, made a quick return.
“I really wanted to play the first week after I got it done,” Robison said. “Obviously, after the first day of rehab, that didn’t happen. But I have a will where I don’t want to be out. I don’t want to be out at all.”
Playing left end would provide a challenge for Robison in that he’s more of a speed player and left ends usually have to be strong against the run. But the fact the Eagles like to throw the ball so much, and get running back Brian Westbrook involved via the pass, might be to Robison’s advantage. “Typically we end up waving guys through there but he’s done a good job when he’s gone in there and given us snaps,” Childress said. “But I’m sure we’ll roll bodies through there if Ray can’t go. He’ll have a tough order of business with [right tackle] Jon Runyan.”
Robison actually could be in a spot to get more than one postseason start. If the Vikings beat the Eagles and advance to face Carolina in the divisional round, there appears to be a possibility Edwards could miss that game as well.
Edwards injured his knee in the second quarter last Sunday against the New York Giants in the regular-season finale and did not play in the final half. He finished the season with five sacks to rank fourth on the team in that category behind right end Jared Allen (14.5 sacks), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (8.5) and linebacker Chad Greenway (5.5). A third-year player, Edwards started 15 games this season. He did sit out in Week 4 at Tennessee because of a shoulder injury.
As for the status of nose tackle Pat Williams, he was limited today in practice after missing two games because of a broken right shoulder blade suffered Dec. 14 in Arizona. It was encouraging for the Vikings that Williams could do some work but I wouldn’t count on him definitely playing against the Eagles. Childress admitted that Williams’ injury is one he could make worse by trying to play through — Jared Allen’s shoulder problem was one that doctors said could not get any worse — and thus the Vikings might not want to take any chances.
That means the Vikings line could be without two of its starters for this game.
Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is scheduled to meet with the Detroit Lions next week to talk about that team’s vacant head coaching position. The meeting with Frazier will be in Minneapolis if the Vikings beat Philadelphia and in Detroit if the Vikings’ season has come to an end. Look for Frazier also to get an interview in St. Louis.