The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 8, 2013

'Serious' Floyd gets his first chance tonight

By Jim Rueda sports@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — If there's one thing fairly certain about Minnesota Vikings' rookie Sharrif Floyd's post-football career, it's that he probably won't make a living as a stand-up comedian.

According to the coaching staff, Floyd has been impressive during the first 11 days of training camp, and they're excited about watching him play in his first exhibition game tonight. And perhaps one of the reasons Floyd is thought of so highly to this point, is his demeanor.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle out of the University of Florida has been quite business-like in his approach to training camp. While some of the other players may be joking around or having some fun during down times, Floyd always seems to be serious.

His no-nonsense temperament was evident even on draft day when he was projected to be a Top 5 pick but slipped all the way to No. 23 in the first round.

"I really didn't care where I got drafted, I was just ready to get started with the team I was going to be with, and I'm glad to say I'm a Minnesota Viking," he said from camp this week. "It's great tradition here along that D-line, and hopefully I can carry the torch at some point."

While many of his teammates have admitted to being excited about tonight's game, Floyd doesn't look at it the same way.

"I'm not worried about the game," he said. "Right now I'm just focusing on today, and I'm going to come out to practice and get better. "

Pretty serious, right?

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams chuckles when he's asked about Floyd's resolute attitude.

"Every now and then I get a little peek of something different," Williams said. "What I mean by that is the non-serious side of Sharrif Floyd.

"He'll crack a joke, he'll smile from time to time, but not too often. (Occasionally) I see the personality, the fun-loving side of him come out."

Floyd should get ample time to demonstrate his progress tonight. The Vikings released a depth chart this week, and Floyd is third at the defensive tackle spot behind starter Kevin Williams and third-year player Christian Ballard out of Iowa.

Williams is not expected to play much which means Ballard and Floyd will likely get most of the snaps. Rookie Everett Dawkins out of Florida State may also get into the game late.

Floyd has been picking the brains of Williams and Ballard in camp and says both have been willing to share their knowledge.

"Kevin Williams has been great, I'm always on to him anytime I need anything. He's open to every question I have, just helping me as much as he can.

"I talk to Christian, too, but mainly I'm under Kevin. Sometimes I go to Ballard depending on the situation."

While Floyd could hardly be described as over-confident or cocky, he believes he has the talent to play at the NFL level.

"I definitely feel like I'm supposed to be here. I enjoy being around everybody that's here. I'm just looking to build off everything we have going."