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Brian Robison a Leader in Different Role

MANKATO, Minn. — Brian Robison has the training camp schedule down pat.

Wake up, go to meetings, go to walk-through, go to meetings, go to practice, go to meetings, go to bed.

The daily routine likely won't change much next year when the Vikings hold training camp at their new facility in Eagan. But for an 11-year veteran like Robison, there's something to be savored about one last go-around in Mankato.

"I've spent 11 years here, and it's pretty much all I've known," Robison said. "Obviously we hate being away from our families, but we love coming out here. 

"The fans have always been great to us here, and it's already great to see the city of Mankato show us a lot of love when we come down here," Robison added.

While the grind of training camp hasn't wavered much over the years, Robison has evolved into a team captain of late.

But the career-long Viking with 56 career sacks said he didn't just magically wake up one day with a 'C' on his chest.

"You don't get appointed the leader by saying, 'I'm the leader.' You get appointed by the guys around you who observe you and look at you as that type of guy," Robison said. "You're only as good as your weakest links, and if you don't have any weak links, then you're a pretty good football team."

A fourth-round pick out of Texas in 2007, Robison recorded 7.5 sacks last season. Fellow defensive end Danielle Hunter had 12.5 sacks and has been lining up with the first-team defense in camp.

Robison said Friday that there is no competition for playing time between the two, adding that his sole focus is to contribute on a championship team.

"I don't worry about the things I can't control," Robison said. "The only thing I can control is that when I get an opportunity to get on the field and play ball, I make the best of it.

"He's out there with the first-team right now and is doing a lot of good things for them. At the end of the day, it's about making sure we're the best football team we can be," Robison added. "It's not about me, it's not about Danielle, it's not about anybody. It's about the Minnesota Vikings as a whole."

That tandem, along with defensive end Everson Griffen and defensive tackle Linval Joseph, help create one of the most productive defensive lines in the league.

Robison noted their success is a byproduct of being comfortable in Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's system, and working as a cohesive group.

"Anytime you're around guys and guys have been in the league, you get more experience and it leads to better decision making," Robison said. "We do a great job of working together, and that's what makes us stand out. There's nobody out here that's here to make their own plays.

"We know and understand that in this defense, in order to make plays, we all have to work together. Everybody will get their portion," Robison added.

The Vikings will put on full pads for the first time on Saturday, leading to even more intensity on the practice field.

It's a process Robison knows all too well.

"It's an adjustment period the first few days, and then it really gets ramped up," Robison said. "But we got after it yesterday and had a pretty good practice. It's just a matter of building those up and making sure we hit the season in stride."

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