Robert Rodriguez returns for his 2nd season with the Vikings in 2016, serving as the team’s assistant defensive line coach.
Rodriguez works closely with veteran defensive line coach Andre Patterson. Everson Griffen led the team with 10.5 sacks (4th in NFC) on his way to his 1st career Pro Bowl. Griffen posted back-to-back seasons with double digit sacks, he ranks 6th in the NFL with 22.5 sacks since the start of the 2014 season. Spelling Griffen and veteran DE Brian Robison (5.0 sacks) was Danielle Hunter, the youngest player in the NFL. Hunter, a 3rd round selection out of LSU, ranked 2nd in the NFL for sacks by a rookie with 6.0. He posted the 2nd most sacks on the Vikings and 5th most by a rookie in team history. NT Linval Joseph was a dominate force in his 2nd year as a Viking and he led the DL with 71 tackles. Joseph (Week 9 vs STL) and Griffen (Week 17 at GB) earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Hunter was named to the All-Rookie team by the PFWA.
The DL accounted for 30 of the 43 team sacks during the regular season. Only 5 RBs reached 100+ rushing yards in 2015. The defense ranked 5th in the NFL only allowing 19.3 points per game.
One of the greatest linebackers in UTEP history, Rodriguez coached at his alma mater from 2008-2014. Following his professional playing career, in his first season as a full-time assistant coach at UTEP, he coached four of the Miners’ top 7 tacklers.
He coached the linebackers from 2010-12, before moving to Nickelbacks & Safeties coach and assistant Special Teams coordinator in 2013.
In 2014, his DB's helped the Miners rank 15th in the nation, 1st in C-USA in Passing Yards Allowed; while his work with the special teams helped the Kickoff
Coverage unit rank 10th in the nation.
The Miners' top two tacklers in 2013 were both freshman safeties coached by Rodriguez.
On special teams, Autrey Golden sparked UTEP's effort in 2013, averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return to rank 10th nationally.
He tied for second in the country in kickoff returns for touchdowns (two) and is already UTEP's career leader in that category.
In 2012, Rodriguez's unit excelled. Josh Fely paced the team in total tackles (112), becoming the first Miner to reach triple digits since 2009.
Fely's efforts were worthy of honorable mention All-Conference USA accolades.
During the 2011 season Rodriguez worked with Jeremy Springer, who began his UTEP career as a quarterback and ended it as the team's leading tackler
(70 stops). The Miners also received a highly productive year from Isaiah Carter (54 takedowns)under Rodriguez's tutelage, who garnered honorable mention All-Conference USA honors
for the second year in a row.
In his first year as a full-time assistant, Rodriguez coached four of the Miners' top seven tacklers, as Jamie Irving (79), Carter (75),
Royzell Smith (72) and Anthony Morrow (67) combined for 293 stops.