Notebook: Floyd the replacement plan?

Sharrif Floyd didn't play the last two preseason games because of his own injury, so would the Vikings consider him to start in the first regular-season game of his career? See what he and Leslie Frazier had to say on the matter. Plus, who will be Jerome Felton's replacement?

Sharrif Floyd was drafted to eventually be Kevin Williams' replacement. "Eventually" could be this Sunday, if only temporarily.

That was the scenario facing Floyd and the Vikings as they began preparations for the regular-season opener Sunday at the Detroit Lions.

Williams, the Vikings' 2003 first-round draft choice, is still recovering from a hyperextended knee suffered nine days ago in the third preseason game and his status for Sunday is uncertain. That leaves Floyd, a 2013 first-round draft choice, as a potential replacement for Williams in the starting lineup.

"That's not my call. That's the coaches' call. It's out of my hands," Floyd said.

"I'm feeling good, and I'm excited to start the season. I just got to get ready."

Floyd is also coming back from a knee injury that required a minor procedure after the team's second preseason game. He hasn't played since, which further muddies the waters about who will play the three-technique that Williams has occupied for the last 10 years on opening day.

"I think we'll have to go through this week and determine that, but (Floyd) has missed quite a bit of time and then coming off an injury," head coach Leslie Frazier said. "We'll have to gauge that as the week goes on."

Frazier indicated last week that Floyd probably could have played in the preseason finale if needed, but the coach didn't want to risk injury to his top draft pick with Williams already ailing.

Floyd has yet to take his first NFL snap. Williams, meanwhile has only missed four games in his 10-year career, starting all 156 games in which he has been available and registering 56½ sacks.

Despite two weeks off with his own injury, Floyd said conditioning won't be a problem for him.

"I got all week to get ready, as far as my wind goes," he said. "It's early in the week to be saying I'm not ready or anything like that. I just got to condition and practice.

"That's all I want to do, to play football at the highest level."

Another possibility is that the Vikings would use Letroy Guion at the three-technique and have Floyd as his backup. Guion started his career backing up Williams but moved over one spot to start at nose tackle last year.

"It's been a while since he's played the (three-technique) position, so it's something we'll have to take a look at based on how Kevin is doing as the week goes on, but we'll see," Frazier said. "We've got some options, we think, but we'll have to determine it as we go forward."

FULLBACK FILL-IN?

The Vikings face a similar question on offense.

With Jerome Felton suspended for the first three games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, who will play fullback for the Vikings? The lead-blocking duties in front of record-setting running back Adrian Peterson will likely be handled by a committee.

Undrafted rookie Zach Line is one possibility.

"When you take a look at what he did at training camp and beyond, he came in and really grew as a player. Once we put the pads on, which is what we were waiting to see, we knew he was a pretty good runner. We wanted to see how he could block," Frazier said. "He's shown he can adapt to our style of offense, he can move those linebackers and really be a good lead blocker for us, not just a good runner. He's shown enough where we felt he would give us a strong option when we lined up against Detroit."

It will be interesting to see if Line is one of the 46 Vikings active on Sunday. They have other options that were explored extensively during training camp, including moving tight ends Rhett Ellison and John Carlson into the backfield.

Without Felton, Frazier said Peterson won't be exclusively running out of a single-back set.

"We'll still be in some two-back situations on Sunday, and we think those guys are capable of getting the job done," he said.

NOTES

  • Frazier is focused mostly on Sunday's opener. Asked about the fact that the Vikings have only one game in the Metrodome before their bye on Oct. 6, the coach turned the conversation to what was accomplished in the preseason and how it applies to Sunday.

    "We're excited about the kickoff of the season. We got what we needed to get out of the preseason from our perspective, our coaches' perspective," Frazier said. "We'll be ready when we line up against Detroit on Sunday. We have enough time to continue to hone in on some things and we're going to work as hard as we can to be prepared on Sunday."

  • The Vikings will be facing one of the league's most productive quarterbacks at the outset. The Lions' Matthew Stafford was second in passing yards (4,967) and average yards per game (310.4) in the NFL last year, and the Vikings face him with a still-unproven corps of cornerbacks with Chris Cook, Josh Robinson and rookie Xavier Rhodes as the top three.

    "Detroit has a superb passing game. We got some young guys that are going to be playing, but we've got confidence they can do it," Frazier said. "We've just got to continue to let them evolved and develop. This will be a big week for them, but they'll do a good job. They'll be ready."


    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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