Vikings' big man doesn't stress over big fall

Sharrif Floyd (Al Bello/Getty)

With about 18 hours to digest his draft-day fall, Sharrif Floyd was ready to get started on his career, accept pointers from others and acclimate to the NFL.

Rationalize as much as he might try, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has no idea why he fell from what most figured would be a top-five pick to No. 23 and the Minnesota Vikings.

Several theories were presented to him:

  • Offensive linemen were the preferred position early in the draft. He gets that theory, even supports it to some degree, and said he saw that with some teams.

    "It's definitely just about need. I sat down and I talked to the Eagles when I went on my 30-30 visit with them and Chip Kelly came in and he loves his offense," Floyd said. "Of course he's going to put another (offensive lineman) there to protect (Michael) Vick and they also felt I was good in their scheme, as well. It's a game of chess and they're going to pick their moves. They're going to pick who they want to fit their offense or their defense and a lot of offensive players went early."

  • He wasn't a schematic fit with teams that were looking for defensive linemen. That might have been the case with one team he visited.

    "Maybe I didn't fit the Jets' scheme and maybe Sheldon (Richardson) did," he said. "Who knows? At the end of the day, I think all of the guys are going to do great and I'm excited to get with my team now and I'm glad to be a Minnesota Vikings."

  • Was there some off-the-field issue that the media and fans weren't privy to?

    "I don't think I've got any deep, dark secrets, honestly," Floyd said. "Again, it's something that was just out of my hands. Mock drafts are wrong each year about some positions and the Minnesota Vikings seen me as their top pick, so I was No. 1 in somebody's book, right?"

    Whatever the reason, Floyd wasn't stressing over his draft-day wait on Thursday night. Others in the NFL's "green room" waited longer, even quarterback Geno Smith and linebacker Manti Te'o, who lasted until the second round.

    Floyd quickly distanced himself from disappointment and focused on what was ahead at the start of his NFL career. One of the first people he met with was a successful defensive tackle from the Vikings' recent past – nose tackle Pat Williams.

    "I actually sat down with Pat Williams, who retired yesterday. He was just talking to me about the game and how long he has been doing it and how he's excited and I'm excited to meet him," said Floyd, who said he got a few tips from Williams: "Just make the game your own and do what you got to do and do it the right way. You have a bunch of people around you that love the Minnesota Vikings and love being here so take advantage of everything you have in front of you."

    Floyd is considered better suited for the three-technique position that Kevin Williams plays – a position he called more natural for him – and was anticipating learning from the veteran he could play behind or next to. The first 18 hours as an NFL player with a team were a whirlwind – getting drafted, doing media interviews, eating and then sleeping for four hours in New York before heading to Minnesota for more introdcutions and media responsibilities.

    In a short while, he will have more time to immerse in the football side of things – that starts Thursday.

    "Eager. I can't wait (to talk to Williams)," Floyd said. "I actually came in as soon as I sat down, and as soon as I sat down with coaches, I'm like, ‘Where's Kevin (Williams)?' I'm ready to learn, I'm ready to get going. I can't wait to build that relationship."

    That process was already starting with the coaching staff. Floyd met with his fellow first-round picks for the Vikings – cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson – and was getting to know his position coach, Brendan Daly.

    Through it all, Spielman emphasized that a player's draft position doesn't matter much after they are selected. What matters is what they make of their opportunity.

    "We talk to all the kids. I talk to them at the top 30 when we have our big banquet," Spielman said of the visit for certain invited prospects, of which Floyd was one of them. "I said, ‘It doesn't matter if you're a first-rounder, where you go in the first round, if you're a seventh-rounder. Right now, you're just coming in and you're just trying to help us win ballgames. Establish your role.' Who's going to say, ‘He's a first-round pick so he gets to go to the front of the line.' You're going to be in the back of the line just like everybody else.

    "So it's what they do once they get here, regardless of where you came or how you came, it's how you're going to perform when you get here. That's what's going to count and that's what's going to matter to people the most."


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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