Vikings DE Brian Robison says Danielle Hunter ‘earned a shot’ as starter

Brian Robison was a starting defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, but that might not be the case in 2017 with the production of Danielle Hunter.

Defensive end Danielle Hunter has exploded onto the scene since being a 3rd round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2015. His speed and athleticism made him a great raw talent, but few expected him to develop as quickly as he did under head coach Mike Zimmer.

In Hunter’s first year, he played a situational and backup role, netting 6 sacks. However, 2016 showed the young man giving flashes of pass rushing dominance when he got 12.5 sacks in a larger, but still situational role.

Tying for 3rd in sacks in the league during the 2016 season, it is hard to not petition for more playing time for the young pass rusher. Even the current starting defensive end, Brian Robison, has realized Hunter’s talent and knows a bigger role is likely in his future according to the Pioneer Press.

“He’s probably done enough to earn a starting position next year,’’ Robison said Monday. “I’m very proud of him. He’s done a lot of great work.’’

If Hunter becomes a starter for the 2017 season, that means it will be Robison who is brought in on situational pass rush situations. This could greatly benefit the 33-year-old defensive end to help his career longevity while still having an important job on the team.

As for the possible decreased workload, Robison isn’t too concerned about that. His veteran leadership and unselfish play has made him a mentor in the locker room, and he only wants what is best for the team in the long run.

“Here’s the thing,” Robison said about possibly being a backup. “At the end of the day, I’m worried about wins and losses, so I want to do whatever is going to help the team win. And obviously that’s up to the coaches… This is no way in me giving up a position, but I think when you look at what Danielle has done this year, he’s earned the right or at least earned a shot at the starting position.”

No matter what the alignment is for games, the combination of Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, and Danielle Hunter are a dangerous group of guys for the Minnesota Vikings defensive line. And with them all having their sights set on winning, there shouldn’t be a problem with egos when it comes to dividing playing time among them.

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