Back home in Minnesota and legally cleared to practice with the Vikings, wide receiver Michael Floyd spent the past two days of organized team activities playing catch-up.
On Wednesday, the first OTA open to media this spring, Floyd worked alongside rookies and other backups while Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell hogged the snaps with starting quarterback Sam Bradford and the first-string offense.
Despite his standing on the depth chart, the big wideout from St. Paul is thankful for this opportunity with his hometown team after he went unsigned through several weeks of free agency, likely due to pleading guilty to a charge of extreme drunken driving in Arizona in February. Floyd could still be suspended by the NFL for that December arrest.
“Everything I’ve been through was eye-opening,” said Floyd, a former first-round pick whom the Arizona Cardinals cut after his arrest. “The stuff that you go through, positive or negative, grows you as a person. I couldn’t be in a better position right now.”
Floyd, who arrived in town over the weekend after his remaining house arrest was transferred by the courts from Arizona to Minnesota, has to learn coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense. But Shurmur said Wednesday that he likes what he sees from Floyd so far.
“He’s the guy that’s probably most behind,” Shurmur said. “But he’s a fast learner. He’s a really good route-runner. And you can see that he’s a guy that can make plays.”
In addition to his family in the area, Floyd has a support group that includes a pair of former college teammates from Notre Dame in tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith.
For now, Floyd is living with Rudolph and Rudolph’s wife, Jordan, who gave birth to twin girls last October. Floyd is gracious but has no plans to help them out with diaper duty.
“I ain’t doing none of that. Nah,” he said with laugh. “I’m not doing any of that.”
McKinnon isn’t stepping aside
Rookie running back Dalvin Cook, the team’s top 2017 draft pick, took a back seat in the backfield to veteran Jerick McKinnon, who got most of the first-team reps Wednesday.
McKinnon, who has become a bit of a forgotten man outside of Winter Park after the Vikings drafted Cook and signed Latavius Murray, is prepared for his new challengers.
“I’m ready to go. It’s going to be a competition,” McKinnon said. “All I can do is be the best I can be every day and lay it all out there in practice and just go from there.”
Murray, meanwhile, watched practice from the sideline, as did linebacker Emmanuel Lamur. Murray is still in a walking boot after undergoing ankle surgery in March.
New-look offensive line
Media on Wednesday got their first glimpse at the new-look offensive line. Free-agent additions Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers manned the two tackle spots for the first-team offense, while Alex Boone and Joe Berger lined up at left and right guard, respectively.
Nick Easton and third-round pick Pat Elflein split snaps at center with the starters.
“We’ve got new players — two in free agency and obviously the rookies,” Shurmur said of the group. “We’re really pleased with what we’ve seen so far. They’re battling.”
Holes to fill on defense
Defensive coordinator George Edwards has a few holes to plug on his side of the ball.
On Wednesday, second-year cornerback Mackensie Alexander got most of the snaps in the slot as the Vikings look to replace free-agent departure Captain Munnerlyn. Veteran Terence Newman also made a couple of cameos at that nickelback position.
Edmond Robinson lined up at Chad Greenway’s old weak-side linebacker spot.
“You always hate to lose guys, but at the end of the day that’s part of pro football,” Edwards said. “We’ve got some young guys, some inexperienced guys … and we’re looking to see them improve each day as we keep progressing through this journey.”
Smith, the Pro Bowl safety, was limited during Wednesday’s practice as he works his way back from offseason ankle surgery, so Anthony Harris took most of his reps.