3. Brian Robison, defensive end – 2007
Brian Robison‘s situation is a familiar one for talented young defensive ends with the Vikings. The Texas pass rusher started out in a backup role but ended up starting five games during his rookie season due to injuries to the team.
Things didn’t get easier from there. Robison remained in a backup role for the next three seasons as well, only starting when the team needed him to fill in. Finally, he got a job as a full-time starter in 2011 and didn’t look back.
For the next six seasons, Robison only missed one start for the Vikings and became a fixture opposite players like Jared Allen and Everson Griffen to create a group of pass rushers to strike fear into the hearts of the opposing offense.
Robison ended his 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings earning 287 combined tackles, 60 sacks, 19 pass defenses, 13 forced fumbles, and eight fumble recoveries. He is fifth all-time in sacks for the purple and gold and was known to “reel ’em in” to celebrate his quarterback takedowns.