Brian Robison made it official on Wednesday, signing a one-day contract to retire as a Viking.
The defensive end spent 11 seasons in Purple from 2007-17, rising from a good-but-not-guaranteed opportunity as a fourth-round pick to a productive starter and respected leader in the locker room.
He helped define the Vikings identity by being a reliable man of his word to teammates, coaches, fans, staff members and the media.
A hard hat and lunch pail mentality, a commitment to doing tasks right and a no-quit mentality helped him along the way.
Robison’s 173 regular-season games played rank third among Vikings defensive ends all-time, trailing only Jim Marshall (270) and Carl Eller (209). He missed just three outings during his career and started all 95 games he played from 2011-16.
He put the team’s goals ahead of his own, yet still totaled 60 career sacks, which is tied with former teammate Kevin Williams for the ninth-most in franchise history.
Robison was presented the 2014 Korey Stringer Media Good Guy Award from Twin Cities media members and served as a season-long captain when Minnesota went 13-3 and won the NFC North in 2017 for the second time in three seasons.
Robison delivered an emotional speech prior to that magical season in which he told teammates that Danielle Hunter was ready to start at defensive end opposite Everson Griffen. Robison accepted a rotational and varied role because it could best-help the team (Brian Robison: Evolved and Involved).
He was right. A key stop by the Vikings defense with Robison kicked inside at defensive tackle gave Minnesota a fighter’s chance just before the Minneapolis Miracle advanced the team to the NFC Championship Game.
Robison’s commitment to coaches, teammates and the sport was never in doubt. He did, however, strike an appreciated balance between his focus on football and his ability to keep things loose in the locker room with memorable moments of levity that included his hosting a fan-favorite Vikings.com segment, 96 Questions with Brian Robison.
The Texas native fully embraced Minnesota and was loved right back. He made sure to help communities in the Lone Star and North Star states after launching his Reel ’Em In Foundation.
In true B-Rob fashion, the angling enthusiast recorded a retirement message while on sparkling water flanked by green trees and beneath a clear blue sky.
Robison read from a handwritten letter in which he thanked the Vikings organization, from the Wilf Ownership Group to Head Coach Mike Zimmer, defensive line coach Andre Patterson and teammates, as well as the people of Minnesota for their support.
View the best images of Vikings defensive lineman Brian Robison throughout his career.
The following is excerpted from Robison’s letter:
It has taken me a few months to get to the point where I can write down the words I want to say to my Minnesota family.
My journey in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (11,842 to be exact) started with one single opportunity.
To the Minnesota Vikings, I thank you for the opportunity to be a Viking. To all the coaches that have been a part of my professional career, thank you! Not only for making me a better player, but also for caring about me as a person. In particular Coach Patterson. You challenged me when I was already established in this league to listen to you and you’d make me a better player.
Thank you for caring about us as men and not just players.
We had many conversations about being a better player but most importantly what I’ll always remember are our conversations about life. You opened my eyes to see things from a different point of view. These lessons have helped me in the community, at the facility and at home.
Coach Zimmer, I tried not to give you much to cuss me out for. For the most part, I feel I succeeded. I want to thank you for always [challenging] me and getting me out of my comfort zone. In the end, it made me a better football player physically and mentally. In turn, this allowed me to pass on this knowledge to the younger guys.
To the Wilfs, thank you for being such great owners and caring about the players the way you do. For y’all to always strive to give us more made us as a team see you as part of us. You called me as I was on my way out the door to let me know I would be missed and meant a great deal to you and the organization. That speaks volumes to me about the type of people you are and the love you have for your team.
To my teammates … thank you for accepting me for who I am. Thank you for making my job enjoyable every single day for 11 years. From the ups and downs to the blood sweat & tears, I’ll cherish every day I was able to spend with you. I’ll miss our locker room dynamic and conversations the most. From Pat & Kevin Williams to the young guys when I left the building, you are my extended family, and that will never change.
I’m always here for you! I love you all, and I’ll miss y’all every day.
To the media, you have a very tough job, and I’ve always respected that. You have to come into an environment with alpha males, not knowing the mood, and write a story whether it’s a win loss, or tie.
Last and definitely not least, the fans! I have always realized and acknowledged that without you I would not have a job. I’ve also always tried to engage with you as much as possible and treat you like people and not just fans. There’s no way I’ll be able to answer every message and comment I have seen, but just know I have seen it. After seeing all of this though, it lets me know that I did things the right way. I have always wanted people to see me as a great football player, but as a better man.
My wife and I will tell you that Texas is our home. It’s where we were born and raised and will be the same for our children. With that said, Minnesota, no matter what happens from here on out or where the Robison family goes, you will always have a piece of our heart. You have given us 11 of the best years of our lives. Some of the best and fondest memories will be from our time here. This is not goodbye by any means, but rather until next time,
To celebrate his official retirement from the Vikings view images of Brian Robison's headshots with Minnesota through the years.