Benching of Vikings WR Robinson a mystery

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2006 - 10:30 PM

Receiver Marcus Robinson did not shed much light on the situation Monday, but by all appearances the Vikings' leader in touchdown catches was a healthy scratch for the second time this season Sunday.

Coach Brad Childress said after the Vikings' 26-13 loss to the New York Jets that Robinson was inactive because of a hip flexor injury that hadn't been previously disclosed. But Robinson said Monday he had "a small, little bruise, a little strain, but I'm fine."

Asked if it was enough to have held him out, Robinson gave a slight chuckle as he walked away. The response wasn't surprising considering those who talked to Robinson before Sunday's game said the move took the veteran by surprise.

He also was inactive for the Vikings' 19-16 loss Sept. 24 against Chicago. He had left the previous game because of a strained right hamstring but did not miss any practice time that week and made it clear he could have played. Robinson did sit out a three-game stretch at midseason because of a back injury.

Despite being sidelined for five games, he has a team-high four touchdown receptions among his 29 catches and had an obvious comfort level with quarterback Brad Johnson.

Childress reiterated Monday night on his weekly radio show on KFAN that he "didn't feel like [Robinson] was up to full speed," and that he "didn't think he could really get on it the way you need to in this game."

It remains uncertain if Robinson will return Thursday night at Green Bay.

Bears mark safe

The Jets' 68 yards gained on the ground Sunday mean the Vikings defense can not establish the single-season record for fewest rushing yards given up in a season.

The Vikings would have had to hold its final three opponents to a combined 51 yards rushing to finish the regular season with the lowest average allowed per game since the league began keeping records in 1920. The NFL record is 47.18 yards per game, set by the 1942 Chicago Bears in an 11-game season.

The Vikings are surrendering 55.1 yards through 14 games, meaning they still have a chance to finish second to the Bears.

To break the modern-day record (since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger) of 60.63 set by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the Vikings would need to hold Green Bay and St. Louis to a combined 198 yards or less to establish that mark.

A quick turnaround

The Vikings installed the game plan for the Packers on Monday and held a practice. There will be another workout today -- the players' normal day off -- and the team will leave Wednesday for Green Bay. The short week is tough on both teams.

Childress said he discussed this with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. "I just mentioned to the commissioner this morning that it's difficult from the guys' body standpoint," Childress said on KFAN. "This is Game 15 coming up and it's on a short week. It's tough on the guys as anything."

Kicker Ryan Longwell, who spent his first nine seasons in Green Bay before signing with the Vikings last offseason, said: "You just got to be real careful to make sure that you're fresh going into Thursday. That's tough to do, but both mentally and physically, you have to get ready to go and turn it around pretty quick."

Etc.

• Cornerback Cedric Griffin did not take part in the pre-practice stretching Monday that the media was allowed to watch and it appeared he would sit out the session. Griffin, who was not available to comment, has been listed on the injury report because of a neck stinger.

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