After an up-and-down career with the Arizona Cardinals and a tumultuous 2016 season, a return to Minnesota may be the bridge over troubled waters that wide receiver, Michael Floyd needs to turn his career and life around. On Wednesday, is was announced that the Vikings had reached a deal with Floyd that would bring him home to his native Minnesota.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the two sides reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.5 million, but is heavily-incentivized and could be worth upwards of $6 million.
Floyd played in 13 games with the Cardinals last season, catching 33 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns, before being released and picked up by the New England Patriots, where he appeared in two games and added another four receptions for 42 yards and one touchdown.
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Much has been made of Floyd’s off the field issues with alcohol. He had three such alcohol related incidents while at Notre Dame and his most recent led to his release by the Cardinals and criminal charges being filed against him. Last December 12th Floyd was found unconscious behind the wheel of his running vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .217, nearly three times the legal limit. He was sentenced on February 17th to 24 days in jail, 96 days of house arrest and a modest fine.
Floyd still faces disciplinary action from the league and will likely serve a several-game suspension to begin the 2017 season. He will not be able to leave Arizona until his sentence is up in June, after NFL minicamps have concluded.
Despite his problematic tribulations with alcohol, the Vikings and head coach, Mike Zimmer, have expressed confidence in Floyd in that he has grown and learned from his past decisions. They feel he can be a productive member of the team and community, both as a player and as a person.
The Vikings signed Floyd in hopes of bolstering their receiving corps after losing Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson to free agency. His size and speed gives the Vikings’ offense another dimension and adds a much-needed downfield threat to a passing game that struggled to move the ball vertically in 2016. The addition of Floyd provides the Vikings with depth at the receiver position, where he will compete for playing time with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell.
Floyd has his roots in Minnesota as a St. Paul native. In high school he attended Cretin-Derham Hall, that produced such Minnesota icons as Joe Mauer, Paul Molitor and Matt Birk, and was twice named Minnesota’s High School Football Player of the Year. Floyd played college football at Notre Dame with future Vikings’ teammates, Kyle Rudolph and Harrison Smith, before being drafted by Arizona in 2012 with the 13th overall pick.
With the Cardinals, Floyd teamed up with fellow Minnesota native, Larry Fitzgerald and averaged 823 yards and five touchdowns over the first four years of his career. His best season came in 2013 when he logged 65 receptions for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns. Throughout his five seasons in the NFL, Floyd has played in 78 games, recording 246 receptions for 3,781 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The Vikings are hopeful Floyd will follow a similar career path of the once troubled Cris Carter, who reinvented himself in Minnesota and had a Hall of Fame career after 12 successful seasons in purple and gold. Coming home to Minnesota offers Floyd a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild his career. As everything has come full circle, it will be up to the misguided receiver to prove himself where his career once began.