Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who spent the 2017 season on the team's non-football injury list as he tried to return from a nerve issue in his right knee, still is awaiting the settlement of a grievance he filed in September in hopes of recouping his full $6.757 million salary for the 2017 season.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Floyd was paid a $2 million base salary for the 2017 season, in addition to a $6,450 workout bonus. Teams are not obligated to pay players on the NFI list; they can pay an amount of their choosing to those players, or opt not to pay them at all.
The issue behind Floyd's grievance, however, is whether his knee issues should have been classified as a non-football injury in the first place. Floyd's knee issues stem from arthroscopic surgery he had to repair his meniscus in September 2016. He played only 25 snaps in the Vikings' 2016 season opener in Tennessee, and missed the team's second game against Green Bay before undergoing surgery Sept. 22. The operation disrupted a nerve in Floyd's right knee that has prevented his quadriceps muscle from firing properly, and the issues ultimately caused him to miss the 2017 season. He said in May that his return to the field was "just a matter of when," but was uncertain whether it would happen in 2017.
"I feel like progress is being made," Floyd said at the time. "Again, it's just taking its sweet old time."
At this point, Floyd's chances of resuming his career appear remote. The Vikings declined to comment on this story. Settlement negotiations in the case are ongoing.
The Vikings had picked up Floyd's $6.76 million fifth-year option in May 2016, and the amount was guaranteed for injury until the start of the 2017 league year. However, because Floyd was still rehabbing his injury in March, the Vikings were not unable to release him.
Instead, after placing him on the NFI list, they decided to pay him $2 million and add the $6,450 workout bonus to his 2017 compensation. Before a grievance is settled, 40 percent of the grievance amount counts against a team's salary cap; Floyd's grievance is currently counting for $1,902,800 against the Vikings' cap, bringing his total number to $3,909,250 for the year.
Had Floyd started the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list and eventually gone to injured reserve, he would have received his entire $6.757 million salary for the 2017 season. The NFL's collective bargaining agreement states "a player on NFI who is in the final year of his contract (including an option year) will have his contract tolled."
Floyd, the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 draft, has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career. He missed two games in 2014, and was out for three in 2015 after having cartilage removed in his left knee. Those issues lingered into the Vikings' offseason program before the 2016 season, and Floyd played in only the team's third preseason game that year, before his limited stint in his lone 2016 regular season game against Tennessee.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman has declined to answer questions about Floyd's status, saying in November that it's "a complicated situation. There's a lot of business behind that, and I'd rather stay clear of that."
When asked earlier this month about whether Floyd would be able to return, Spielman said, "That is something we will address probably as we go through our process."