Vikings defensive end Brian Robison figured the offseason might give him a break from questions about his future. Not so.
Back in his native Texas, Robison’s friends and family members have taken over the role of reporters, continuously asking how much longer he might play.
“It seems like I get asked it every day,” said Robison, who turns 33 on April 27. “Aunts and uncles, people you see every once in a while, when they see you they ask you those things. It’s like I’m getting old or something.
“I tell them all the same thing, ‘I really don’t know. I just take it day by day and we’ll figure out where we’re at, at the end of the season.’ ”
Robison, who has two years left on his contract, said his “ultimate hope” is to fulfill that deal. He’s due to make a base salary of $3.75 million in 2016 and $5.25 million in 2017.
Because the Vikings have an up-and-coming defensive end in Danielle Hunter, Robison knows it’s possible the team might ask him to restructure his contract this offseason.
“We all know the NFL is a business,” he said at season’s end.
However, Robison said the Vikings have yet to mention the possibility. In fact, general manager Rick Spielman lauded the nine-year veteran at the NFL scouting combine in February.
“Brian played, we thought, very well for us,” Spielman said. “I think he still has a lot of play in him. … He still is not only a valuable football player for us, but extremely valuable from a leadership standpoint.”
Robison was flattered by Spielman’s remarks.
“It feels good when a guy like Rick Spielman notices that you’re still playing well even if some people are saying, ‘His numbers are down,’ ” Robison said.
Robison had eight sacks or better for three straight seasons from 2011-13 before dropping to 4.5 in 2014 and five in 2015. However, Pro Football Focus ranked Robison 19th out of 48 NFL defensive ends last season.
Robison has a salary-cap number of $5.25 million for 2016 and $6.6 million for 2017. He likely will need a banner season to play 2017 under the existing terms of his deal.
“I’m grateful that I’m going to get this year in,” Robison said. “Playing 10 years in one place is obviously something that not a whole lot of people get to accomplish. My whole mindset now is basically on winning a Super Bowl championship and bringing that to Minnesota.”
Robison believes the Vikings’ offseason moves will help in that regard. Among free agents joining the team are offensive linemen Alex Boone and Andre Smith, linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and safety Michael Griffin, who played with Robison at the University of Texas.
“I’m pretty excited about Michael Griffin,” Robison said. “I think he’s a heck of a player. I know he’s going to fit into the mold that (Vikings coach Mike) Zimmer wants at safety, so I’m excited about being back on the field with him.”
Robison will be reunited with Griffin on April 18, when Vikings players report for offseason workouts. For now, Robison is focused on the first major event of the Brian Robison Reel ‘Em In Foundation, taking place Saturday and Sunday at Lake Fork, Texas.
The foundation was created last fall and is a nod to Robison’s love of fishing. This weekend’s fishing event will raise money for K9s4Cops, which provides trained dogs to law enforcement agencies.
Scheduled to participate are Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and cornerback Terence Newman. Each has provided autographed jerseys for a silent auction, as have quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and tight end Kyle Rudolph.