Josh Robinson was a full participant during the first day of Vikings mandatory minicamp Tuesday. Robinson was strictly used at outside cornerback, his natural position until he replaced Antoine Winfield last season as the slot cornerback.
“Much more comfortable; to me, that’s home,” Robinson said of playing on the outside.
Robinson won’t have to worry about the slot/nickel role with the free agent acquisition of Captain Munnerlyn. Robinson said he struggled understanding calls and alignments last season and spent the whole season learning the role.
“That was kind of my downfall,” Robinson said. “My biggest thing this year is making sure I know everything so everything is natural and fast, not playing slow.”
He was limited during OTAs due to a number of different ailments, and to avoid reinjuring a fractured sternum that placed Robinson on injured reserve last season. Now that he’s on the field, Robinson said he’s excited about the physicality incorporated in the new scheme.
“You get to get more hands on receivers, you get to play more man coverage. That’s something I look forward to and something I really like the most.”
Defensive tackle Linval Joseph said he had offseason surgery in January to repair a partly torn labrum in his right shoulder. He spent the spring rehabbing and has been limited to this point during OTAs and mandatory minicamp.
Joseph participated in individual drills but not team sessions. Fred Evans and Tom Johnson have received the bulk of the first team reps at nose tackle.
“I feel better now because I’ve done everything individually that I could do,” Joseph said. “Right now, we’re trying to get it as strong as I can before I go back into war.”
Joseph expects to be a full participant when the team reports to training camp on July 24.
Every Vikings player was present for the start of mandatory minicamp. Coach Mike Zimmer said his focal point during the last week of practice before a month long break was to avoid a setback during the start of training camp.
“We’ll start back with our install, we’ll start back with our techniques and all that, but we don’t want to regress from last week to this week to when we get to training camp,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer said the coaches will send reminders to the players during the break to stay active with a conditioning test awaiting their arrival in Mankato.
“I think it’s important that when the players go out for five weeks, they understand that they can’t sit on the couch for those five weeks,” Zimmer said. “They have to be in shape. We’ve got 90 players counting on each other to be a good football team. We don’t want 85 of them sitting around doing nothing for five weeks.”
• Linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive end Scott Crichton were at practice for the first time since rookie minicamp. Both couldn’t participate in team activities until they finished their finals due to NFL rules. Barr lined up at linebacker and defensive end on pass rush situations.
• Wide receiver Greg Jennings made a great one-handed catch from Matt Cassel on third down in the middle of the field. “That’s the way you come to work!” wide receivers coach George Stewart said to Jennings after the play.
• Zimmer said he caught a portion of the U.S. soccer team’s 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday. When asked if he was a soccer fan, Zimmer paused then said, “I like the United States.”