Brian Robison has served primarily as a backup defensive end and utility lineman in his four seasons with the Vikings. He has waited patiently for his opportunity to start while expressing frustration at times about his desire to contribute more.
Robison will get his opportunity next season. Due to become a free agent, Robison signed a three-year deal Thursday worth $14.1 million that includes a $6.5 million signing bonus.
Robison, who made $550,000 last season, could replace Ray Edwards at left defensive end. Edwards received a first-round restricted tender from the Vikings, but he likely will become an unrestricted free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement gets done.
If that happens, there's a good chance Edwards will sign with another team, pushing Robison into a more prominent role.
"They kind of told me I was one of their priority guys that they wanted to get back and this definitely shows it," Robison said by phone from Houston. "This is definitely a big-time vote of confidence."
The Vikings placed a second-round tender on Robison on Wednesday in anticipation of him being a restricted free agent in a new CBA. But the two sides continued to work on a multi-year deal as the deadline on the CBA neared its expiration Thursday.
"It's been a heck of a day," Robison said.
Robison has appeared in 63 career games with seven starts. He was known as a situational pass rusher early in his career but he worked to become a complete defensive end who is capable of playing on every down. Robison also played tackle in some nickel passing situations, but he felt he is ready to become a starting defensive end.
He admitted that he didn't know if he would get that opportunity with the Vikings.
"I really wasn't sure, but my outlook was to just take things one day at a time," Robison said. "Just whatever opportunity I got, take advantage of it. I told you guys that over and over, every time you interviewed me. But that's just the way I look at things. I have to take advantage of my opportunities. Luckily I guess I did that well enough for the Vikings to be able to see that and give me this money."