- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings will be without cornerback Josh Robinson for the foreseeable future because of a partially torn pectoral muscle. They'll be without linebacker Casey Matthews longer than that.
Coach Mike Zimmer announced Sunday afternoon the Vikings are putting Matthews on injured reserve because of a hip injury he sustained while going over a hurdle during a workout. Matthews, who signed a one-year deal with the Vikings this spring, will miss the rest of the season.
The injury opens up a spot among the Vikings' linebackers.
It's Robinson, who partially tore a pectoral muscle when he fell at the end of organized team activities, who helped trigger some changes in the Vikings' strength program. He was placed on the physically unable to perform list.
The cornerback was the fourth Vikings player to sustain a pectoral injury in less than a year, after torn pectoral muscles took Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco out for the season last year and Brian Robison strained a pectoral muscle while lifting weights this spring. Running back Jerick McKinnon also had surgery on a low-back injury he sustained while lifting weights last November. The Vikings shifted from weight machines to free weights before last season, under a program that Zimmer and strength coach Evan Marcus designed to make the Vikings more explosive.
Robinson's injury, Zimmer said, was the "straw that broke the camel's back" and prompted the coach to research some changes to the Vikings' program. They're now putting a greater emphasis on rotator cuff strength and brought an extra strength coach in during training camp to help spot players while they're lifting.
"A lot of people have told us it's just freak luck," Zimmer said. "Sometimes when we're bench pressing, if it bounces off his chest, that's where they get the tears. We're going to work on strengthening the rotator cuffs much more than we have. We're going to warm up much better than we have. When you get more than one (instance) of an injury, and especially pectoral-wise, it's more of an unusual injury, you have to think about it."
It didn't sound as though Zimmer planned to scrap the focus on free weights or Olympic lifts, however.
"I know one thing: We're stronger the way we're doing things, we're more physical," Zimmer said. "I changed the weight program because I want our football team to have a certain type of mentality, a certain type of aggressiveness. I believe that's a lot about mindset as well. When you're down there, and you hear those weights banging, and guys working and sweating their rear ends off together, I think it's important. Maybe I'm just old school, but I believe that."