MANKATO – Sharrif Floyd. Vikings No. 1 draft pick … Six-foot-3, 305 pounds … Defensive tackle and …
“He has such great feet,” said special teams coach Mike Priefer. “He does all that drill work we’re doing with punt return. You watch it on tape and the feet are unbelievable.”
Today’s NFL players are bigger. And in many cases, the big fellas are more nimble than ever. In the Vikings’ case, one of Priefer’s best special teams players is Everson Griffen, a 273-pound defensive end who also happens to run 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.
“I don’t even know what [Floyd] weighs,” Priefer said. “All I know is he’s big and strong and has great feet.”
With Floyd likely playing behind Kevin Williams this season, he might have to chip in on special teams, Priefer said. Floyd was working with one of the backup kick return units on Saturday. He also will be tried on the punt return, field goal, and field goal block teams.
“At the end of the day, we dress 46 guys [on game day],” Priefer said. “We have to make sure we utilize the roster as best we can. It’s my job to make sure we get that done.”
How’s the weather up there?
It sounds like the Vikings are getting more out of fifth-year veteran Phil Loadholt than a 6-8, 343-pound shade-maker.
“He is a leader,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “He leads by example rather than being overly vocal. Everybody looks to Phil to check the climate every day. What’s the weather like? When he’s into it, which he is every day, it sets the tone for the whole offense. He’s the same guy every day. He’s intense, serious and detailed. That’s what a leader is supposed to be.”
Wait a minute. Was that weather crack a rare joke from the normally reserved O-coordinator? Yes, it was, but he sneaked it in so subtly that he had to explain the punch line.
“When you’re as big as Phil is,” Musgrave said, “you can check the atmosphere easier.”
Guion hurts elbow
Starting nose tackle Letroy Guion injured an elbow near the end of Saturday’s practice and was taken for X-rays in the evening.
“[Guion] was a little frustrated, I guess, when it happened,” Frazier said. “They’re going to X-ray him and let me know what’s going on with that.”
Guion slammed his helmet to the ground on the sideline after injuring the elbow. He shook his head coming off the field after practice when someone asked him if he was OK.
Frazier has talk with Jennings
Frazier said he talked with receiver Greg Jennings about his comments in Thursday’s Star Tribune in which Jennings implied that former Packers teammate Aaron Rodgers considered himself bigger than the team.
“Yes I did, and hopefully there will be no more reporting on that with Greg Jennings,” Frazier said. “We had a little conversation about that, so we’re moving on.”
Asked why he had the talk with Jennings, Frazier said: “We’re the Vikings and we want to talk about us and what we’re trying to get done here. He understands that. That’s where our focus has to be. We have so much work to get done. We don’t really want to be looking at and describing other teams, other teams’ players. It’s us. We got to focus on us. He’s good with that.”
Attitude helps Webb
Joe Webb is likely on the bubble to make the 53-man roster. But Webb certainly seems to have the backing of coaches as he continues his quarterback-to-receiver position change.
On Saturday, both Musgrave and Priefer lauded Webb’s selfless approach and overall exuberance.
Musgrave said Webb still has many details to iron out as a receiver but has been willing to put in the work.
“Joe has an aura about him,” Musgrave said. “He’s very positive.”
Priefer, meanwhile, continues to look for special teams roles for Webb, potentially eyeing him as a return man, a gunner for punt coverage or as an asset on the kickoff return and punt return units.
“He’s kind of a freak of nature,” Priefer said. “He’s a different athlete. He can run. He can jump, he can move.”