The Top-Tier FA Edge Rusher with Plenty of Vikings Connections
NFL free agency has officially entered the second wave. Many of the best players have been scooped up, though a ton of talent remains on the open market. In particular, there is 1 big-name free agent who has a ton of Vikings connections: EDGE Leonard Floyd.
Most recently employed by the Rams, Floyd is a veteran pass rusher who’d function as a bit of a mercenary for hire at this stage in his career. He’s 30, so Minnesota would be deviating a touch from their previous emphasis on youth. However, we’ve already seen them do so with the Dean Lowry addition, so perhaps the willingness to bring in older players persists as long as the price is right.
Leonard Floyd, The EDGE w/ Tons of Vikings Connections
According to Spotrac, Leonard Floyd’s market value comes in around $13.7 million per season. In all likelihood, Floyd won’t get a deal that actually lives up that projection. He has been in the NFL for 7 seasons and has never once had a single-season cap hit above $8 million (though he does leave behind $19 million in dead money in LA).
Making the possible signing more plausible is the connection to Kevin O’Connell. The pair joined forces in LA, combining to help the Rams snag a Lombardi.
Moreover, the Vikings’ coaching staff also features Wes Phillips, who was similarly in LA.
Currently, the team’s main pass rushers are Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and Za’Darius Smith (who may soon be traded). Behind them are Patrick Jones, D.J. Wonnum, Kenny Willekes, Benton Whitley, Curtis Weaver, and Luiji Vilain.
If you asked a lot of football evaluators and analysts, the Vikings are in the midst of a somewhat underwhelming free agency. Reasonable minds can disagree about that assessment, but few would disagree with adding more pass rushing talent. After all, it’s a passing league, so having a small army of players who can get after the QB is a must.
In his career, Floyd has 47.5 sacks. What’s notable about that total is that the majority have arrived over these past few seasons. He had 10.5 sacks in 2020, 9.5 in 2021, and 9 in 2022. Or, put differently, 29 sacks over the previous 3 years. Can he sustain that production in Minnesota?
Originally the 9th overall selection in the 2016 Draft, Leonard Floyd has an intriguing combination of length and speed. He’s 6’5″ and 240 pounds. He ran a 4.60 forty leading up to the draft, an excellent number for an edge rusher. For reference, Danielle Hunter ran a 4.57 and Marcus Davenport a 4.58. In other words, a Floyd-Hunter-Davenport three-headed monster would be a lot of speed for opposing offenses to contend with.
Currently, the best guess is that Za’Darius Smith will be traded. The man has publicly requested to head elsewhere and a trade has the potential to clear more than $12 million on the cap. That’s cap space that can be used in a variety of ways, one of which being for another pass rusher.
Hunter and Davenport have the potential to be elite in Minnesota, but let’s not overlook their injury history. Mitigating the risk by adding another impact pass rusher makes a lot of sense. Worst case, the team simply has a trio of excellent pass rushers, a problem that every NFL team would be lucky to have.
Keep an eye on a Floyd addition, especially if he remains unsigned following the NFL Draft.