Notebook: Josh Robinson returns to his comfort zone on the outside
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Josh Robinson never felt what coaches said he would.
A candid Robinson reflected Thursday on his sophomore season in the NFL, one that presented extraordinary challenges in learning a new position as slot cornerback.
"I remember that's something [former Vikings DBs] coach Joe Woods told me, you'll start feeling things," Robinson said. "I never felt nothing. See people in the end zone and I'm like, 'Man, this is stupid.'"
Robinson was rated as one of the worst cornerbacks by ProFootballFocus.com last season before he fractured his sternum in a November loss at the Seattle Seahawks. While rehabbing his chest, Robinson has also fought through a hamstring pull and other ailments that have limited him this offseason.
But the Vikings have still mixed him into the first-team defense alongside Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn during this week's mandatory minicamp.
Robinson, along with Derek Cox, are considered the top candidates for the team's third cornerback in nickel situations.
However, this time Robinson will be back on the outside.
"I was happy. I didn't know exactly what it was going to be coming into this year, when I finally heard I'd be outside, I was ecstatic," Robinson said. "[Slot corner] is a thing you really got to feel, get a feel for it and you can really do it and excel in it. And Captain has proven that."
The Vikings signed a proven nickel cornerback in Munnerlyn to fill the Antoine Winfield role after failing with Robinson last season. But that doesn't mean Robinson is a failure at cornerback.
First-year head coach Mike Zimmer sees plenty of promise in the 23-year-old Robinson, who figures to excel in a defense that gives him similar responsibilities from when he was at the University of Central Florida.
"He's still got some technique work he's got to work on, but I thought he did a great job out there [Thursday]," Zimmer said. "He's still a young guy that's learning."
The Vikings have worked Munnerlyn, sixth-round pick Kendall James and Shaun Prater as the team's slot cornerbacks this offseason.
But would Robinson ever want to give it a go again?
"No, not even a little bit," Robinson said.
'Not going to tell anybody'
The Vikings quarterback competition is 'legitimately' open, or at least that's what Mike Zimmer said this week.
Knowing he'll have to eventually peg a starter, Zimmer has a time when he'd like to do that.
"But I'm not going to tell anybody," Zimmer said.
Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater have taken the lion's share of throws in team drills during this week's minicamp. Zimmer sees no issue with starting a rookie, though the quarterback position brings more pressure than any other for a young player.
"I've never had a problem playing young guys," Zimmer said. "We've had guys that when I was in Dallas we drafted high and started the first day we walked in. We've had several guys in Cincinnati. Geno Atkins played a ton. Carlos Dunlap played a ton his rookie year."
• The Vikings wrapped up their final practice until late July on Thursday with the last minicamp walkthrough. The team will be off for five weeks until a July 24 report date to training camp.
• Zimmer said the Vikings hosted 13 former players/coaches during recent practices, including Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson and Jerry Burns. Said Zimmer: "I want our players that played here to feel like they're always going to be welcome here. The ones who have played here in the past, I want them to always feel it's welcome to visit. I want this to be a family."
• Matt Cassel continued to take first-team reps, followed by Teddy Bridgewater and Christian Ponder. Counting up 11-on-11 throws per quarterback on Thursday: Bridgewater (25), Cassel (22) and Ponder (12).
• Audie Cole took snaps at middle linebacker for the first time in front of media on Thursday. Cole had typically filled in for Anthony Barr, who missed OTAs to finish school, on the strong side in first-team defense.
• Antonio Richardson and Kevin Murphy split snaps at left tackle for the injured Matt Kalil (knee).
• Jamarca Sanford (muscle pull) sat out on Thursday. Tight end Allen Reisner was the only player absent from all three days of mandatory minicamp.