Vikings’ Floyd gets fresh start with hometown team, familiar teammates
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Back in his native Minnesota to begin his diverted career anew, Michael Floyd has moved in with an old friend.
“I figured I’d save some money,” Floyd said with a smile.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, his college roommate of three years at Notre Dame and now a fellow purple-wearing pass catcher, became Floyd’s de facto landlord following the recently incarcerated wide receiver’s accelerated arrival from Arizona.
“I just texted him and told him I’m sleeping downstairs,” Floyd said Wednesday after his second practice with the team he signed with two weeks ago. He added: “We’ve been knowing each other too long to say no, even if it was the other way. If he had to spend the night sometime, he would come over to my house.”
Then Floyd was asked if the conditions of his stay included diaper-changing duty: Rudolph and his wife have twin 6-month-old girls.
“I’m not doing any of that,” Floyd said, animatedly.
Rudolph naturally needled him back on Twitter , jokingly warning of an awkward ride home that afternoon.
Former friend… man this is going to be an awkward ride home today.. https://t.co/hVUYLQYDS7
— Kyle Rudolph (@KyleRudolph82) May 24, 2017
Floyd, though, is an unquestionably grateful guest.
Having pleaded guilty Feb. 17 to extreme drunken driving, with a police report of blood alcohol more than 2 times the legal limit, Floyd was punished with 24 days in jail and 96 days of home confinement, plus alcohol counseling and a $5,000 fine. He was able to have the house arrest sentence, which is set to expire June 17, transferred to Minnesota.
“Everything that I’ve been through is just eye-opening. The stuff that you’ve been through, positive or negative, just grows you as a person. I couldn’t be in a better position right now,” Floyd said. “Especially being at home with family and friends and also having teammates on the team that I can lean on for anything.”
Floyd finished last season with Super Bowl champion New England after a drunken driving arrest led to his departure from Arizona, and he became a free agent behind bars. The Vikings quietly began scouting the 6-foot-2, 220-pound former first-round draft pick of the Cardinals (in 2012), with general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer spending “numerous hours” on multiple visits, according to the GM.
“It’s just us trying to add another good football player to our roster,” Spielman said.
It’s a lot more than “just” that for Floyd.
“The thing that happened to me, I think them taking a chance at me was the last straw,” Floyd said. “You want to accomplish all your goals and stuff like that. You’ve got to have your head on straight. They know that’s what I’m doing now.”
Floyd’s combination of speed, size and experience could prove to be quite the bonus for an offense that lagged behind the rest of the league last season. But he’s facing a likely suspension from the NFL for the drunken driving that would limit his impact.
“He’s the guy that is probably most behind, even behind the rookies, because they have another week on him,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “But he’s a fast learner. He’s a really good route runner. You can tell that he’s a guy that can make plays.”
He’s a guy who can make friends, too, starting with his college buddy Rudolph.
“A lot of guys, you know, you come on a new team and you feel like that random rookie,” Floyd said. “But I think I know a lot of guys enough on this team that they’ve welcomed me in with excitement and joy.”