Brian Robison stood at his locker stall Monday morning and surveyed another locker room cleanout at Winter Park, the 10th of his career.
“These young cats around here make me feel old,” the 33-year-old said. “Especially when you look at a guy like Danielle Hunter, who is 11 years younger than you. He’s probably done enough to earn a starting position next year so I’m very proud of him. He’s done a lot of good work.”
Robison, despite being one of the oldest players on the Vikings roster, made an impact in 2016 with 7.5 sacks, his highest total since 2013. But he has enough self-awareness to know that Hunter, his young backup, played well enough to nudge him out of the starting lineup in 2017.
Now, Robison was quick to point out that he does want to just give away his starting gig. But he indicated that he would not grumble if the team wanted him to become a backup to Hunter, who led the Vikings with 12.5 sacks despite playing far fewer snaps than Robison and Everson Griffen.
“We’re going to have to battle it out during OTAs and things like that,” Robison said. “But he’s a heck of a player and he’s got a bright future.”
Of course, Robison also has enough self-awareness to realize, too, that he might not be here for OTAs without taking a pay cut. After all, about a year ago he stood in exactly the same spot and fielded questions about the possibility of that happening last offseason. The Vikings never asked.
Robison, who has a salary cap number of $6.6 million next season, said he will worry about that if and when the Vikings approach him about it.
At one point he was asked about outside linebacker Chad Greenway, who accepted reduced salaries to stick around with the Vikings but now has a chance to retire in purple. He, too, hopes he can go out on his own terms.
“I think we all hope that. Whether it happens or not is really out of our control. Definitely we all hope that and I definitely hope that it comes to a point where it is on my own terms,” said Robison, who turns 34 in April. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to go out with a Super Bowl win. That’d be nice.”