Vikings release DE Brian Robison; CB Terence Newman retires

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings released veteran defensive end Brian Robison on cut-down day Saturday, while cornerback Terence Newman decided to call it quits three days shy of his 40th birthday.

Also Saturday, the Vikings activated second-year center Pat Elflein off the physically unable to perform list. He has spent the entire preseason sidelined while rehabbing from ankle and shoulder surgeries.

Per a source, Elflein will not be ready to play Week 1 when the Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers but is eyeing a return at some point in the coming weeks. Minnesota signed former Giants center/guard Brett Jones last week and waived center Cornelius Edison during roster cuts on Saturday. Jones or Danny Isidora, both of whom played center in the Vikings' preseason finale at Tennessee, will be relied on to fill Elflein's absence.

The Vikings announced Newman's retirement on Saturday and, effective immediately, that the cornerback will join the coaching staff. Details on Newman's exact role will be provided at a later date.

Robison, who spent the past 11 seasons with Minnesota after being drafted by the Vikings in 2007, took a $2 million pay cut to return in 2018 after restructuring his contract before OTAs. He was the longest-tenured member of the roster.

The Vikings cleared $1.105 million in salary-cap space by releasing Robison.

Robison reacted to the news on Twitter.

"Brian has been one of the best leaders I've seen in my career, and I'm happy I got the opportunity to coach him. He's been such a great player for us and an even better help building the kind of culture we want with this team. Brian will be missed, but his influence will continue to be felt on this team going forward," coach Mike Zimmer said in a statement.

The 35-year-old noted that his decision to return was "tough" after he considered retirement after the Vikings' 13-3 season in 2017. His quest to bring a championship to the state of Minnesota is what he said drove him to come back despite a reduced salary.

"It's a business, and this business is very cutthroat, and there's a lot of business moves that even the guys up in the front office, they don't always want to do, but it's just part of the business that they have to do," Robison said in May. "I don't really have any animosity towards them. As far as I'm concerned, it was a decision that I had to make for me and my family. It was a decision that really rested solely upon me. I had the option of not coming back, but at the end of the day, this is the place that I wanted to be."

Robison's release reflects the depth the Vikings have along the defensive line. Both Stephen Weatherly and Tashawn Bower are considered the team's top reserve pass-rushers. After strong preseason performances, the two defensive ends are expected to be first in line behind Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter as the Vikings aim to build a rotation along the D-line.

Robison ends his time as a Viking with 60 recorded sacks and 289 career tackles. Last season, Robison played 56 percent of snaps and recorded four sacks from his reserve role.

"Brian Robison exemplifies exactly what we strive for as Minnesota Vikings. From the moment he arrived, he proved to be a tireless worker, a great teammate and, most importantly, a leader on and off the field. Along with being one of the best to ever wear a Vikings uniform, Brian has an uncanny ability to connect with everyone he meets and a magnetic personality that commands respect," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in the statement.

"We will miss Brian, but he will forever be a Minnesota Viking. On behalf of the entire organization, we want to thank Brian, Jayme and the entire Robison family for their immeasurable impact on our team and our community."

Newman played for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on three teams (Dallas 2003-06, Cincinnati 2012-13 and Minnesota 2015-17) and appeared in 221 career games with 205 starts. Coming off his third season in Minnesota, in which he played 555 snaps (third-highest of all Vikings corners) as the team's lead nickel corner, Newman announced that he would return for a final season in May. Before his retirement, Newman led the league with the most career interceptions (42) among all active players.

Safety Andrew Sendejo, who turns 31 in September, is currently the oldest player on Minnesota's roster.