Emmanuel Lamur should be healthy enough to return to team drills soon and perhaps one of a few young linebackers will make a move. But so far this spring it has been third-year defender Edmond Robinson who has hogged the first-team reps at Chad Greenway’s old position.
Robinson, who has practiced at a couple of different outside linebacker spots since the Vikings picked him in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, has not exactly seized the weak-side linebacker spot with Lamur dealing with an undisclosed injury. But Mike Zimmer sees improvement.
“I think he has might have started out a little bit slow, but he had a good week this week,” the head coach said after yesterday’s OTA. “So we just keep giving him more and more and see how he handles things.”
While Robinson only made a dozen tackles in 21 games over his first two NFL seasons, the Vikings remain enticed by the 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker’s potential. He backed up Anthony Barr at the strong-side spot in 2016. When Greenway retired, he was moved to weak-side linebacker so he could compete with Lamur for the right to play that position.
“I think sometimes the first or second year, you still try to feel your way a little bit, and third year, you are a lot more comfortable,” Zimmer said. “It is a big year for [Robinson], and I think, so far, he is progressing well.”
Lamur recently returned to practice, but based on what the media saw yesterday he has not yet been cleared to participate in team drills. Lamur, who signed a two-year deal with the Vikings last spring, made 13 tackles last season after he was unable to unseat Greenway in camp.
Because Barr and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks were the team’s two every-down linebackers and Zimmer pulled Greenway off the field when the Vikings used their nickel defense, Greenway played only 38.7 percent of the snaps last season. Still, it’s an important role they must fill.
And if recent draft picks Kentrell Brothers, Ben Gedeon or Elijah Lee or another young linebacker is the best option there, they will play.
“We’re going to look at all of the guys in there,” Zimmer said. “I’m not opposed to one of these younger guys if they end up being the guy.”