Free agency was right around the corner for Brian Robison, and the 30-year-old defensive end admits he was a little intrigued to see what kind of options would await him when the season came to a close.
Then the Minnesota Vikings came through with a final push to keep him in Minnesota for the long term, and Robison couldn't pass it up.
Robison signed a four-year contract extension on Wednesday, a deal he says will allow him to finish his career in the place it started as a fourth-round draft choice back in 2007. The deal could be worth $28 million, includes a $5 million signing bonus and guarantees worth more than $12 million total, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not announce contract terms.
"Me and my family sat down and talked about things and we realized there are not a whole lot of guys in the league that get to start their career in one place and end their career in one place," Robison said. "This is an opportunity for me to do that."
It's also a chance for the Vikings to add stability to a starting defensive line that is in flux. Robison was in the final year of his contract, as are defensive end Jared Allen, defensive tackle Kevin Williams and top backup Everson Griffen.
"I couldn't have done this without those guys," Robison said. "Bottom line is that I think the Vikings are happy about it. I'm very happy about it that we shored up at least one guy for next year and hopefully more to come."
Now in his seventh season out of Texas, Robison has 31 career sacks and has solidified himself as one of the team's most reliable and durable defensive players. He's never missed more than one game in a season.
"His consistent play, having an idea of what you're going to get every single week, that's a big deal," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "And he stays on the field. He's not often injured. That's important as well."
The Vikings have a history of locking up players they view as long-term assets with contracts during the season. So this could be the first of more to a come. Robison said he tried to stay out of the negotiations until they got to a point where a deal was close.
"I let her handle everything," Robison said of his wife. "She's a tough cook and obviously my agent is a tough cookie as well and obviously they did a great job for us."
It also served as validation for a possibly risky decision he made in 2011 to take a modest three-year deal in hopes that he would earn a bigger payday down the road after becoming a regular starter.
"That deal to me was an opportunity to be a starter, an opportunity to prove myself in this league and I was able to do that," Robison said of his three-year deal. "I'm not going to sit here and toot my horn or anything like that, but I'm just very thankful to the Vikings to give me that opportunity and then obviously seeing that I was able to have another opportunity to be here."
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