Thursday night will be the last time Michael Floyd can step onto a football field for a game until the beginning of October. And while a good showing in the Vikings’ preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins might not be necessary to secure Floyd’s role on the roster, it certainly would help him close the preseason with some momentum before beginning a four-week suspension.
Floyd, who is about to begin NFL discipline following his arrest for DUI last December, had an impressive training camp in which he showcased his ability to separate from defenders (particularly on intermediate routes) and make contested catches. He got plenty of work in the Vikings’ top three-receiver set, and looked like he could be in line to set himself up for a significant role in the offense once he returned from suspension.
That could still turn out to be the case, since Floyd’s resume as a vertical threat might be better than any receiver on the Vikings’ roster. It’s worth noting the Vikings gave Laquon Treadwell plenty of time with their first-team offense on Sunday night, though Treadwell hadn’t played yet in the preseason and is still under evaluation as the Vikings try to figure out where to put the 2016 first-round pick. Treadwell played 33 snaps to Floyd’s 17, and veteran Jarius Wright played only eight at wide receiver.
Treadwell figures to be on the field Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium, and Floyd should get plenty of chances to play, as well. It likely won’t give either player another opportunity to work with Sam Bradford, since the starting quarterback figures to sit out Thursday’s game. But the Vikings are going to have to construct their offense without Floyd for four weeks, which could give Treadwell every opportunity to seize their third receiver spot, particularly with Adam Thielen seeing more time in the slot. Given all that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt Floyd to end his exhibition season with a couple big plays on Thursday night and provide a reminder of why he should figure prominently in the Vikings’ plans once he returns.