Minnesota Vikings training camp could be the last stop in the career of Michael Floyd. After one week of practice, it appears that Floyd is well aware of his situation. All indications is that the wide out, drafted 13th by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2012 NFL draft, is off to a great start. After practice on Sunday, even Coach Zimmer noticed Floyd standing out. “So far, he’s made some big-time catches,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “He’s got some good speed and physicality. “That last play in the end zone there, he kind of bodied the guy up and made a hell of a catch,” Zimmer added. Zimmer was referring to a one handed catch Floyd made in the back of the endzone over cornerback Tre Roberson.
While impressing on the field, off the field has been a big question mark for Floyd. He will start the season suspended the first 4 games due to his DUI arrest in Phoenix last year. He followed that up by violating the terms of his house arrest back in June, after failing multiple self-administered breathalyzer tests. Floyd, advised that he failed the tests after drinking Kombucha tea. He claims he was not aware Kombucha tea contained alcohol and that the team had told him to drink it. The Vikings believed his side of the story and gave him yet another 2nd chance. It was rumored that Coach Zimmer told Floyd if he found out that he was lying, he would cut him. Now, it’s put up or shut up time.
Without making any unfair comparisons, it is fun to ponder the similarities in the career paths of Floyd and another troubled wide out, Cris Carter. Carter struggled with substance abuse in his time with the Philadelphia Eagles before being cut by Coach Buddy Ryan. The Vikings picked up Carter off waivers and the rest is history. For many Vikings fans, it may be difficult to remember the Cris Carter that struggled to find his footing. It’s easy to remember the Hall of Fame player who broke reception records and had 8 straight 1,000 yard seasons. All he did was catch touchdowns. He reeled in 130 to be exact, which ranks 4th all-time. It would be unfair to Floyd to try to compare them. Simply step back, and look at their numbers. In Carter’s first 5 years in the league, 3 with Philly and 2 in Minnesota, he averaged 38 receptions, 565 yards per season, 16 yards per catch and 5 touchdowns. Floyd is right on par with those numbers at, 49 catches, 756 yards per season, 15 yards per catch and 5 touchdowns. Carter came to the Vikings at age 26. Floyd is 27. Their birthdates are just days apart. Obviously, at this point in his career, it is difficult to imagine Michael Floyd as a future hall of fame wide receiver. The point is, career resurgence has happened before and it has happened in Minnesota. It’s not like Floyd doesn’t have the pedigree.
Think back to the 2012 draft, where Floyd was selected 13th by the Cardinals. Coming out of Notre Dame, Floyd put up monster numbers, with 271 receptions, 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns. Watching his career develop with the Irish, many considered him to have a #1 wide receiver type of pedigree. When you compare Floyd’s career numbers to Stefon Diggs’s first 2 seasons or even Adam Theilen’s fantastic 2016, it helps put things in perspective. While Diggs and Theilen have better numbers, it isn’t by much. Diggs is at 68 receptions per year, 811 yards and 5 touchdowns, while the “Mankato Flash” put up 69 catches for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns a year ago. Floyd, thought by many to be a disappointment in the NFL isn’t terribly far behind these figures. The comparison may be skewed a little considering the offense Floyd played in, in Arizona. The Cardinals are much more of a pass oriented offense than the Vikings have displayed over the past few seasons. However, with Sam Bradford at quarterback and Pat Shurmur running the offense, you can expect the Vikings to lean on the passing game more than they have in the last several seasons. Point being, if Floyd can slightly improve his career numbers in Minnesota, he will look pretty good in purple.
The key for Floyd is going to be finding the motivation to realize his potential. His current Vikings teammate and former Irish teammate, Kyle Rudolph, has taken Floyd into his home to try to help him get back on his feet. Floyd is also returning to the area where he grew up. He is from St Paul. He played his high school football at Cretin-Derham Hall High School, where he was named Gatorade player of the year in 2007 and 2008. He was named Army-Navy All-American and graded as a 5 star recruit by Rivals. Hopefully, all of these factors will finally bring it together for Michael Floyd. Maybe he will realize this is likely his final chance in the big leagues. Maybe he won’t. For the Vikings, the risk is well worth the reward.