When the Vikings acquired wide receiver Michael Floyd off of waivers, at a huge discount (compared to what he would’ve cost had he not passed out in his car in December of 2016), they knew that he was going to be suspended up to perhaps eight games. For some reason, a lot of Vikings fans thought that because he ended up with a four-game suspension (despite Kombucha-Gate) the Vikings would end up cutting him (even though, again, they knew it was coming and thus wouldn’t have signed him in the first place had the suspension meant anything). So, with the Vikings final roster being released and Floyd making the cut, what does his return week five (which is a Monday Night Football game against the Bears) mean for the Vikings offense?
When the Vikings started announcing their cuts there were actually a few surprises, with veteran guard Alex Boone being the biggest among them. The Vikings brass did have to make some tough decisions as they’re relatively stacked at multiple positions (especially defensive line). One person that we discussed on the purpleJOURNAL Podcast as potentially ending up on the chopping block was veteran receiver, Jarius Wright. Despite the fact that the Vikings gave him a decent contract a few seasons ago, and thus he’d put a few million of dead money against the cap for the next two seasons, it makes sense that the receiver with limited skills (that don’t apply to the current Vikings offense, clearly, as he was a healthy scratch multiple times last season despite injuries at the position) would end up being cut once Floyd comes back and the Vikings need to make a move. Now, Wright will be picked up by someone and the move is definitely worth it was Floyd will bring a completely different dynamic to the Vikings offense.
Apparently, Floyd had an amazing camp. He was overpowering defenders and making great plays. That didn’t really translate during pre-season games, but that’s because he was out there with second and third string quarterbacks (and he’s still learning the offense). It’s been announced that Floyd is banned from the practice facility until week five but he can still work out with the team, which will give him more than enough time to learn the offense and come out swinging against the Bears. The dynamic he brings is a sort of deep threat that this offense hasn’t had… In a really long time. He’s not a complete burner, like Randy Moss, as he runs a 4.4-40 (like the other receivers on the team), but he still comes down with the ball more often than not because he’s extremely strong and physical. He’s essentially a much faster, larger version of what the Vikings thought Laquon Treadwell would be.
This is an offense that really needs a deep threat to stretch the field and open up the run game, especially. They also need a physical receiver who can overpower defenders in the red zone (again something they expected Treadwell to do and really, after a decent pre-season, he just might be able to). Stefon Diggs is a decent down the field receiver, as he runs the best routes in the league, but he still hasn’t shown the ability to get wide open (or come down with the ball) down the field or really get open in the redzone (where the team has really, really struggled). The best down the field receiver they’ve had in recent years (or year) is Adam Thielen, who has a knack for getting WIDE open down the field. The difference between him and Floyd is that Floyd can drag four defenders into the end-zone after a catch (like he did as a Patriot) while Thielen is pretty bad at creating yards after the catch. Just get a load of this (which really begs the question, why did New England let him go?):
While that does beg the question of why New England, a team that has a need for the exact type of wide receiver that Floyd is, let him go. Now, that’s really been covered by me, ad nauseam, the best way to sum up his time in New England is a quote from the Boston Herald that said Floyd was “Saying the right things but not doing the right things”. He walked out of an interview because they asked him the last time he had a drink, he just wasn’t ready to admit he had a problem. Now that he’s back home (which has red flags all over it, also) and living with his college teammate and bestie, Kyle Rudolph, he appears to be focused simply on football (despite Kombucha-Gate).
I really do fear that month off but I think he does realize that this is his last opportunity to play in the NFL and it’s sort of a sign that he ended up with his hometown team. Should he stay sober until Week five he will bring a dynamic to the offense that it’ll really, really both need and take advantage of. If Diggs can stay healthy and Thielen can play like he did last year (or better, considering that is/was his goal), throwing in Floyd as a third receiver suddenly makes the Vikings wide receiver corps one of the scariest in the league. Considering the fact that they have Sam Bradford, the NFL’s most accurate quarterback (Yes, even down the field) slinging the ball to them… It could really be exciting. So, I’m holding out hope as an alcoholic myself, for Floyd to stay on the straight and narrow. The team needs him and he needs the team and despite all the negativity surrounding the team right now (from the fans), I do believe that they have a chance to do something special this year and Floyd is a large component of that. So, we’ll see but I’m not giving up on the team, or Floyd… Yet.