Robison, Joseph among Vikings veterans providing playoff advice
MINNEAPOLIS—If Minnesota Vikings players want some locker-room advice on what it's like to venture deep into the postseason, there aren't a lot of places to turn.
Minnesota has just two players who have appeared in a Super Bowl: nose tackle Linval Joseph and offensive tackle Mike Remmers. Joseph, a starter on the 2011 New York Giants, is the only one of the two with a Super Bowl ring, although wide receiver Michael Floyd did get one last season with New England despite being inactive for the game.
The only current Vikings players to have appeared in a conference championship game are Joseph, Remmers, Floyd and defensive end Brian Robison. Robison is the only remaining player from Minnesota's last appearance in the NFC championship game, when the No. 2 seed Vikings lost 31-28 in overtime at New Orleans following the 2009 season.
With the Vikings again having the No. 2 spot in the NFC and getting a first-round playoff bye, they are projected by their seed to at least advance to the championship game. For those who need any advice, Robison is willing to help.
"Absolutely,'' Robison said Monday, Jan. 1. "A lot of guys in this locker room have never been in this situation, and I've only been in this situation really once, as far as having a first-round bye and getting there.''
Robison has talked about taking advantage of a playoff bye with fellow team captain Terence Newman. Newman never has made it to a championship game but was with Dallas in 2007 when the Cowboys had the No. 1 NFC seed and a first-round bye before losing to the Giants in a divisional playoff.
"It's something that the guys have to understand that you have an opportunity here to do some great things and you have to take advantage of that opportunity,'' Robison said. "If you don't, you'll probably regret it for the rest of your life because at the end of the day, there's no guarantee that you're going to be in this position next year.
"I was in this position in 2009, and it's taken this long to get back. You have to live in the moment, and when you have an opportunity like this, you've got to grab it.''
The Vikings will play Jan. 14 in a divisional playoff at U.S. Bank Stadium against either the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Rams, No. 4 Saints or No. 5 Carolina. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will have his players practice Tuesday and Wednesday and then give them off until Monday.
Zimmer won a Super Bowl as Cowboys defensive backs coach following the 1995 season but called that "a while'' ago. He's perfectly content with players who have made deep postseason runs sharing their wisdom in the locker room.
"They have an opportunity to talk about the belief that you can get there,'' Zimmer said. "Like Linval, he's won a Super Bowl. Just being able to try to keep these guys on point, some of these younger guys. The problem is, a lot of young guys come in and they expect it's going to happen every single year. Really, you never know.''
Joseph is more than willing to give pointers about his experience.
"Just don't take it for granted and just enjoy this opportunity,'' he said. "That's what I tell (teammates).''
Remmers was a starter for Carolina in 2015, when the Panthers went 15-1 and earned the top NFC seed. They made it to the Super Bowl before losing to Denver.
"Just continue what we've been doing all season,'' Remmers said of what advice he could give. "Just taking it one week, one day at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.''
Remmers sees similarities from 2015, when there was plenty of talk about the Panthers going to the Super Bowl, to now, with the Vikings having a chance to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium.
"The whole build-up, and just having experienced it before, will help me stay focused.'' Remmers said.
Robison dealt with plenty of hype eight years ago when Brett Favre was Minnesota's quarterback. One difference he sees is those Vikings lost two of their final three regular-season games while this team won its final three.
"This team is a little different, the way we go about things, the way we work hard every day,'' Robison said. "Not saying that team didn't, but it's just a little bit different vibe.''
Robison will try to use what he learned from that team to help the Vikings avoid again falling short of the Super Bowl.