knows the story. The Arizona Cardinals
, the Vikings' opponent Sunday, have given up 28 sacks this year. The Vikings are tied for the NFL lead with 65 sacks since the start of the 2011 season.
It would seem to be a perfect storm for players like Jared Allen
and Robison, the team's starting defensive ends, to go on a sack streak. They might, but they are cautious about their approach.
"It all depends on what they come and do Sunday. In order to get them to throw the ball, we have to get them in situations where they throw the ball. By that, we have to get a little bit of a lead, we have to be able to stop the run and get them in situations where they feel they have to be able to pass," Robison said. "If we do that, we like our chances against anybody."
The key to the Cardinals "leading" the league in sacks, according to Allen, is that they have gotten behind in games. Still, the Cardinals' 28 sacks not only lead the league, they lead it by a five-sack margin over the next closest team – the Green Bay Packers
with 23 sacks allowed.
Clearly, the Arizona offensive line is an issue and it hasn't been getting better. In their first three games, the Cardinals gave up a combined six sacks. In their last three, that number has escalated to 22.
"If you look at it, they're an offense, they've had some injuries on that front and (there are) guys that are new this year. They're still trying to get their cohesiveness. That's typical of any offensive line," Robison said. "You really look at it, preseason our O-line was a little bit different so they had to build that cohesiveness. Once you do that, you become a better offensive line. With them, we just have to make sure it doesn't happen this week."
Robison appears to have a very favorable matchup because, according to STATS LLC, Cardinals rookie right tackle Bobby Massie
has given up 9½ sacks, most in the NFL.
"That's the one thing we have to do is pay attention to who is the guy we're going against," Robison said. "We look at them from all their games in the past and try to see what other guys did against them and see if that's going to work."
While the Cardinals' sack problems intensified recently, their 7.3 sacks per-game average in the last three games have all come against Kevin Kolb
. With Kolb suffering a rib injury, John Skelton
is back in the starting role.
"Skelton tends to just kind of get rid of the ball if he can. He doesn't want to make any mistakes," Robison said. "You look at a lot of plays from the first game, he was out of the pocket running bootlegs and things like that, so he was able to unload the ball up the sidelines. Some of the other games they were doing a little bit more pocket passing. You can't really just unload the ball like you want to."
While Kolb has 4.8 times more pass attempts than Skelton this year, that doesn't completely account for the 27-1 sack ratio between the two. But there is another difference. Skelton, in limited playing time this year, has a 3.6 interception percentage while Kolb was only at 1.6, indicating that Skelton may be more willing to throw the ball up for grabs to avoid a sack while Kolb is more cautious with the ball.
For Robison, the goal is to at least frustrate Skelton with the pass rush. Robison, however, has gotten off to a relatively slow start this season. He has only one sack, but he hasn't been helped by a left elbow injury that has required the use of a large brace.
He got a new, smaller brace this week to protect the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and is hoping that helps with some of the flexibility issues he has been having.
"It feels much better. It's one of those deals where you can't really straighten your arm out all the way. You don't really have the flexibility and motion, just because of the added bulkiness," he said. "It's not as easy to do your actual pass-rush moves where I might slap a hand down with my outside arm or rip with the inside. It's kind of hard to get that arm all the way across. It does hurt a little bit, but it's not an excuse. I've just got to keep working."
With a rushing attack battered by injuries and facing the right tackle who has struggled most with pass protection in the NFL, Sunday's game would appear to be an ideal opportunity for Robison to increase his sack total.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.