By Chad Courrier firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mankato Free Press
---- — EDEN PRAIRIE — Sharrif Floyd was drafted a little later than he thought he might be, but it didn’t really matter.
He might play as a nose guard alongside All-Pro Kevin Williams or he might rotate with Williams at the other defensive tackle position. He’s not concerned.
The defensive lineman from Florida isn’t going to worry much about something he can’t control. Instead, he’s focused on what happened when the selection process was over and he got into minicamp with his future teammates.
“A lot of players get drafted, and just because you go high, it doesn’t mean you’ll end up being a great player,” Floyd said. “What you do with your opportunity, the hard work, that’s something I can control.”
Floyd, at 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, went to the Vikings with the 23rd pick of the first round, the first of three players chosen by the Vikings in the opening round. He was the sixth defensive lineman chosen, the third in the interior.
Floyd was the national high-school player of the year in 2009, coming out of Philadelphia. He attended Florida, where he was a key member of one of the nation’s best defenses. He made 31 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss, and earned third-team All-America honors.
“He can anchor in the run, and he has good pass-rush moves,” Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. “I know his stats may not have shown it, but he’s been tremendous in these OTAs and he’s another one where we can’t wait to get the pads on to kind of see what happens.”
The Vikings have been looking for a run-stuffer in the middle of the defense since Pat Williams retired a couple year ago, but Floyd said he’s not sure how he’ll be used.
“I can’t say where I’ll be playing or what my role is,” he said. “That’s not my call.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier envisions Floyd being the backup to Williams, rotating during the games to keep Williams fresh and get Floyd some experience. Frazier said that he expects Letroy Guion and Fred Evans to play well enough at the other defensive tackle spot that Floyd won’t be forced onto the field.
“Hopefully it gets to the point where (Floyd is) productive enough where he can warrant increased reps as the year goes on,” Frazier said. “That would be optimum if he’s able to get in the rotation, have success and we can gradually add more reps to his play as the season goes on.”
Floyd said he felt comfortable during minicamps, learning the playbook and getting used to the new environment. The game is faster, the opponents are bigger and the outcomes are more intense, but again, he’s not worrying about the things he can’t control.
“I just want to keep getting better,” Floyd said. “I’m working on everything. There’s nothing I can say that I’ve perfected so I keep working.”