EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A year ago at this time, the Minnesota Vikings were teaching Josh Robinson to play the slot cornerback position for the first time, convinced -- or at least attempting to convince themselves -- that the second-year corner could replace Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield at the position.
Robinson, who'd spent his whole career playing outside, where he could use the sideline as a second defender in man coverage, was essentially trying to learn a different position. And there was never a point when it felt natural to him.
"I remember [former defensive backs] coach Joe Woods told me last year, 'You'll start feeling things.' I never felt nothing," Robinson said. "People were in the end zone, and I'm like, 'Man, this is stupid.'"
Asked if he'd ever want to try it again, Robinson said, "No. Not even a little bit."
According to Pro Football Focus, Robinson gave up the third-highest passer rating (127.2) in the league while playing in the slot last year. It contributed to a miserable season that saw Robinson targeted repeatedly in coverage during the first half of the season, before he missed the final six weeks of the year with a fractured sternum.
But Robinson was as relieved as anyone to see the Vikings sign Captain Munnerlyn in free agency, and with Munnerlyn set to play the slot, Robinson could find his way back to an outside spot in the Vikings' nickel package.
"He's still got some technique work he's got to work on, but I thought he did a great job out there [on Thursday]," coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's still a young guy that's learning."
Robinson said he's still learning the way the Vikings want their corners to play press coverage, and it remains to be seen how easily he'll adapt to that once the Vikings are practicing with pads in training camp. But he's happy, for now, to be back in a more familiar spot.
"When I finally heard I'd be outside, I was ecstatic," Robinson said. "[Slot cornerback] is a thing you've really got to feel, get a feel for it and you can really do it and excel in it. And Captain has proven that."