Vikings Would Save $2 Million By Cutting Brian Robison Today


An interesting wrinkle in the whole Michael Johnson story is the contract status of the man Johnson would presumably push into a backup role by signing with the Vikings.

More from Vikings Rumors

Brian Robison started at LDE for Minnesota in 2014 and in some people’s estimation did a pretty lousy job. Even Vikings coach Mike Zimmer admitted that Robison was miscast as an every-down lineman in his system which emphasizes run defense (which Robison struggles to provide) over pure pass rush (which has always been Robison’s strength).

Nevertheless, the Vikings have given no indication that they mean to cut Robison or force him into a contract restructure. Nor have they pursued a better player at his position in free agency (that we know of).

All things being equal, there is no pressing need to restructure Robison’s contract, since he’s only going to cost you $5.65 million this year anyway. Keeping Robison for one more year at that number then cutting him at the end of the season seems like a perfectly reasonable way to go. If you mean to keep him in a prominent role.

But here’s the rub: all things are no longer equal when it comes to Robison and his role or contract. Because now suddenly out of the blue you have Michael Johnson in the mix.

The plan previously may have been to keep Robison on board and perhaps sign a George Selvie or an Adrian Clayborn to provide a better run-defending end in certain situations, but when Johnson got cut, a potentially much more attractive scenario opened up.

That more attractive scenario involves signing Johnson and making him the starter at left end, relegating Brian Robison to a purely backup role. All of a sudden, the prospect of paying Robison $5.65 million for the season doesn’t look so appealing. That is a lot of money for a rotational defensive lineman.

The problem for the Vikings is the way Robison’s contract is structured. The terms of his deal say that as of the close of league year day 3, $2 million of his $4.15 million-dollar base salary becomes guaranteed. And today happens to be the third day of the league year.

So, if the Vikings do want to cut Robison and save themselves some money, they need to make a quick decision or else they’ll be on the hook for $2 million regardless of what they end up doing with the player.

As Andrew Krammer of reports, the Vikings as of Thursday morning had made no contact with Robison’s reps to discuss any of this. So we have to assume that Robison will still be a Viking as of tomorrow morning, and will therefore get his $2 million.

It’s nearly certain that in the coming days, Michael Johnson will visit Winter Park. It’s very possible that Johnson will sign a contract with the Vikings shortly after his visit.

Once Johnson does sign, he will immediately become the presumptive starter at left defensive end, and Brian Robison will become a backup player set to make $5.65 million for the season with $2 million in guaranteed money already in hand.

If the Vikings are okay with that arrangement, I’m okay with that arrangement. If they’re not okay with it, they don’t have much time to act before $2 million of Zygi Wilf’s money goes down a Brian Robison-shaped toilet.

Next: Buccaneers Making Aggressive Push For AD?

More from The Viking Age