Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 5/16/12
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was watching several players return punts early on the first day of the Vikings' rookie mini-camp on May 4. With over 70 players at the camp, Frazier didn't know each player just by sight. He was relying on a "cheat sheet" with names and numbers to recognize players. One particular player caught his eye and he had to go to the paper to see exactly who was displaying some unique speed. Looking for No. 31, Frazier was very pleased when he saw the name Josh Robinson, Minnesota's third-round draft pick. "Josh caught a punt and he took off like a guy shot out of a rocket," Frazier said. "And I thought, 'Man, that guy has a nice little burst. Let me see who that is,' and it was Josh Robinson. I said, 'That's a good sign.' That burst, it sticks out." The rookie mini-camp wasn't the first time Robinson had shown off his speed and it's one reason he's with the Vikings now. Robinson, a 5-foot-10, 199-pound cornerback out of Central Florida, caught everyone's attention at the combine in March. Robinson was clocked between 4.29 and 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the fastest time at the combine this year. Add in an 11 foot, 1 inch broad jump, which tied him for the best mark, and a 38.5 inch vertical leap, which also placed him in select company, and Robinson had made the marks he was hoping for in front of the scouts. But there have been many "workout warriors" that have made a name for themselves at the combine only to flame out once they got on a football field. Robinson doesn't want to be the next one added to that regrettable list. Robinson hopes the combine was just the beginning of his highlights. "Definitely, that's something I always have my mind on," Robinson said. "Even after the combine, having those great numbers, I always realize that wasn't my goal. My goal was to succeed in the NFL. So I'm still working, going to continue to work and try and get better." Robinson was certainly drafted into a situationwhere he can realize his goals. Minnesota needed to remake its secondary after a disastrous showing last season. Robinson will have a chance to play right away and could carve out an initial role as a nickel or dime back. And as evidenced by his mini-camp performance he'll get a chance at the open punt returner's job. And the Vikings could certainly use his best asset his speed. The talk, right now, always seems to come back to his speed. The athletic ability jumped out to Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. "Just looking back and going through the tape, the foot speed and the quickness and how he can flip his hips, the burst out of his transition to close back underneath, the unique trait of anticipation and knowing when a receiver is going to break and his ability to get out of his transition and close to the ball," Spielman said after drafting Robinson with the 66th overall pick. "He can recover quickly if he does get a step behind a receiver." Robinson doesn't plan on getting beat often. He's about as confident as he is quick. When asked after the draft why he chose to leave Central Florida after his junior season, he had a simple answer. "My primary motivation was that I could get it done, that I had the ability to be a shutdown corner, one of the best corners to play the game," Robinson said. "So, that's something that really motivated me to want to pursue this career and try to accomplish my goals." His confidence is one reason he was able to flash at the combine. While some top players choose not to run at the combine, instead waiting for their school's pro day in an environment they have more control over, Robinson didn't think twice about taking on every challenge at the combine. "I never really doubted myself," Robinson said. "I have confidence in every drill. That's why I took on every drill and just tried to give it my all." Robinson also had the game tape to go with his combine numbers. He had 10 interceptions returning two for touchdowns and 36 pass breakups his three seasons at Central Florida. He added 138 career tackles. He will get his chances with Minnesota. Frazier has already said he will get a chance as a returner and is excited to see what he can do on defense. Robinson has the size and speed to play on the outside and in the slot. He also fits the Vikings' system after playing mainly zone in college. Of course, his athletic attributes leave the possibility he could last as a man-cover corner as well. Robinson caught the coach's eye by returning punts. Frazier is ready to see what else he can do as the summer continues. "Well, that's what we drafted him for, to play corner," Frazier said. "We will continue to throw things at him and watch him progress. We want him to compete for a job, not just in the nickel position, but we want him to compete for a starting job and we will see how he does." Rest assured, Frazier knows what number Robinson wears now. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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