Vikings DE Brian Robison 'more than likely' will retire after 2018 season
EAGAN, Minn. — Before the Vikings open the 2018 season on Sept. 9 against San Francisco, Brian Robison might announce that this will be his final year in the NFL.
The defensive end contemplated his future earlier this spring before agreeing to take a pay cut and return for a 12th season. He said Tuesday, June 5, he is leaning toward retirement after the season and isn't planning to drag out the decision process.
"More than likely, I think it is" his final season, Robison, 35, told the Pioneer Press following a practice during organized team activities. "I've talked to my wife and family about it and the body's just getting to that point.
"I'm not going to make that decision wholeheartedly until probably the season starts, but I would say more than likely it probably will be (his final season). ... If you ask me that in August, I'll have a definite answer."
Longtime Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway retired after the 2016 season, and offensive lineman Joe Berger retired after the 2017 season. Both talked about going out on their own terms, and that has inspired Robison.
"I have seen how at peace they are with their decisions and it was just the right time for them," Robison said. "And I think for me, that's what I have to decide, if it truly is the right time for me. I think more likely it is. ... I have to make that decision, and I've got to be at peace with it."
After six years as a starter, Robison gave way to Danielle Hunter at left defensive end last season. He was scheduled to make $3.5 million for 2018 until he agreed last month to a $1.015 million deal with a workout bonus of $90,000.
"I've been around this business long enough to have kind of learned the business because I wanted to, and I kind of knew (a pay cut) was coming," Robison said. "I didn't think it'd be that much, but I definitely saw it coming. ... Me and (general manager) Rick Spielman actually had a conversation about it, and I think for me it was just making the right decision for me and my family."
Robison missed the first four weeks of spring drills while contemplating his future, then reported May 14 under his new deal. He said he was "50-50″ on deciding whether to retire last month. He also considered testing the free-agent market but decided it was more important to play his entire career with Minnesota.
"That means a lot," said Robison, who took a pay cut last year to $4 million after originally being on the books for $5.6 million. "I've given a lot of sacrifices on my part to stay here. At the end of the day, the Vikings have been willing to keep me here.
"I try to handle everything with class. At the end of the day, it's more important for me to be seen as a good person more than just a good player or a good athlete, so I want to try to handle everything in a way that the younger generation can look toward me and see me as a good man, not only as a good football player."
That's how Vikings coach Mike Zimmer sees Robison.
"He's a great teammate," Zimmer said. "When I came in here (in 2014), I didn't know much about him, but the thing that he's done really well is bought into what we're trying to preach from a team defense, a team aspect of things. He's been a good leader. He's not always afraid to voice an opinion on the things we're trying to get done, and I think it's great to have him here."
Robison had long flowing locks when Zimmer arrived before the 2014 season, then cut his hair late in 2014. He joked with reporters Tuesday about recent changes.
"I've got gray hairs now," he said. "My daughter told me my hair's turning white."