Some of the best entertainment of Vikings training camp came Thursday afternoon when receivers and defensive backs were going against each other in a one-on-one deep passing drill.
At one point early on, the drill was mainly for the rookies, younger veterans and backups. Receiver Michael Floyd, who’s one of the more physically gifted receivers but still a backup at this point, beat one of the young corners and pulled down a long reception.
As Floyd was jogging back to his spot in the line, starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes perked up, put his helmet on and playfully called Floyd out to line up against him.
“I saw him do that,” Floyd said a day later. “We were looking at each other the whole time. You have to make every play a competition. That just transitions into the game and makes it a lot easier.”
When Floyd’s next turn in the rotation was up, No. 29, Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings’ version of a shutdown corner and a guy who’s on the verge of a mega contract extension, buckled his chinstrap.
Per NFL player-safety rules, the Vikings can’t play press coverage until this afternoon’s practice, the first one in full pads. So Rhodes was at a disadvantage.
Floyd gave his first move inside. Rhodes reacted well. But then Floyd’s second move to the outside was quick enough to leave Rhodes off balance and a step or two out of the play.
“I should have known you’d do the double move,” Rhodes yelled.
“Being an older guy, you don’t like to always go against younger guys who don’t have experience,” Floyd said. “You want to go against the best. Like Xavier. People know around the league how good he is.”
Unfortunately for Floyd, the pass was terribly overthrown. Incomplete.
But both Floyd and Rhodes seemed to enjoy the competition as they laughed and slapped hands.