It's tough for rookies to win starting jobs in shorts during OTAs, but Minnesota Vikings third-round pick Josh Robinson might have fallen into one in a development that has nothing to do with his performance on the field.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has the out of left field scoop straight from head coach Leslie Frazier:
Wow, Leslie Frazier says Asher Allen has retired. Allen didn't tie decision to health. Frazier said he was very surprised.
— Pioneer Press (@VikingsNow) May 30, 2012
Allen started 20 games for the Vikings over the last two seasons and only turned 24 this year, so the Vikings couldn't have seen this coming. In addition to drafting Robinson, the combine's fastest man, the team addressed their cornerback depth in free agency by signing Zachary Bowman and Chris Carr to modest free-agent contracts. Chris Cook, the team's designated Calvin-stopper, could be the team's first pick to start opposite Antoine Winfield, but Cook's long, lean frame could be exploited by quicker receivers like Titus Young, Greg Jennings and Devin Hester.
None of Cook, Bowman and Carr provide the speed Robinson brings to the field, which could give the rookie an edge in a camp position battle. Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune already reported after the team's rookie mini-camp that Frazier wanted Robinson to compete for a starting job this year.
The Vikings had the worst pass defense in the league last year. While they will get battle-tested veteran Antoine Winfield back, the loss of Allen in a division that includes Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler will put Robinson on the spot, even if he doesn't land a starting job.