Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd isn't taking 2015 success for granted

The Minnesota Vikings defense made big strides last season as they set the pace for a division championship. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd isn't buying into the hype. He's waiting until the defense proves it again. At that point, the bandwagon is open for passengers.

Sometimes the hype surrounding a team and its positive momentum can get to players. The Minnesota Vikings are no exception.

In 2010, coming off a 12-4 season in which the Vikings came within numerous self-inflicted wounds from going to the Super Bowl, there was the impression that all the Vikings had to do was show up and they would win. That thought process got painfully shot down as 2010 rolled on.

Six years later, some of the same sort of positive buzz is surrounding the 2016 Vikings. Coming off their best season since 2009, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd isn’t buying into the hype. He’s sees the 2016 Vikings as a team that is starting over, just as it was coming off the 7-9 premier season for Mike Zimmer.

“I think we have to look at it the same as we did coming into last year,” Floyd said. “We need to focus on us and doing better things for each other and playing more together. I’m looking forward to this season and all of us playing for each other. That’s what we’ve done for the last couple of years – playing hard and playing for the guy next to you.”

Floyd acknowledged that the Vikings have a better defense than Zimmer inherited because of the changes he has made and the philosophy he brings to the game. They aren’t there yet, but have a grasp of the bigger picture of Zimmer’s defensive vision and, as a result, can now absorb the back pages of the playbook.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1669803-subscribe-today-member-be... Zimmer’s philosophy is based around the fact that players aren’t playing for themselves, they’re playing for the better good of the group. In his system, a defensive tackle does his job in certain plays if he pushes a quarterback off his spot and funnels him to an awaiting defensive end or blitzer who takes him out. Sacks and tackles get assigned to players. Making the play that forces the ball carrier to someone else is a basic tenet of that philosophy and Floyd is buying in.

“I think our improvement last year was due to everyone being comfortable individually and as a unit,” Floyd said. “There’s a lot more we can still build on and the coaches can add more things because we see the game in a different light.”

Last year at this time, the Vikings were being viewed as a team on the rise, but about 9-7 and remaining the little brother of the Packers was widely viewed as inevitable. It didn’t happen and the reason it didn’t was that the Vikings took care of their business at Lambeau Field.

A year later, while there are still more than a fair share of Green Bay apologists, there is an undercurrent among the national types that have seen the progress made by the Vikings defense, believing that if the offense can merely keep up its end the Vikings can go a long way in 2016.

Floyd acknowledges seeing the wave of supporters that has grown from nothing to something outside of the borders of Vikings Country. But, as he sees it, they are late to the party but still welcomed in.

“We’re going to keep hearing that, but it’s not going to change our focus,” Floyd said. “For the past two years, we’ve been believing in us and the fans have been believing in us. That’s all we really need going forward. Everyone else, they can jump on the bandwagon if they want. We’re going to take it from here.”

SATURDAY NOTES

  • Vikings rookie Laquon Treadwell made social media news Friday for all the wrong reasons. He posted a picture of himself on Snapchat wearing an NFL hat. Unfortunately for Vikings fans, it was an Oakland Raiders hat. Ya think Mike Zimmer may have a word with him on that? You can bet there will be plenty of Vikings hats in his locker when he returns to Winter Park.
  • The dates for the start of training camp were announced Friday. The team will report July 28 with the first practice scheduled for July 29. This year will be the 51st year that the Vikings have held their training camp in Mankato. The night practice will be Aug. 6, but the Mankato portion of training camp could be a shorter-than-usual affair if the team leaves early for its preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and practices against Mike Zimmers former team before playing them, which is the planned course of action. The full training camp schedule hasnt been released yet.
  • U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank announced Friday that a ruling on the ongoing dispute between U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo will happen no later than June 24. The disputes concerns charges U.S. Bank has made that Wells Fargo signage outside the windowed north end of the stadium is tantamount to photobombing the view of the Minneapolis skyline from a competing bank.
  • The National Football Foundation announced its preliminary 2017 Hall of Fame ballot for former FBS college players this week and it includes several players or coaches who spent time with the Vikings, including Morten Andersen (Michigan State), Eric Bienemy (Colorado), Brad Culpepper (Florida) and D.J. Dozier (Penn State).
  • Although he had nothing to do with the NFL, we would like to extend our condolences to the family of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who passed away at the age of 74. Every athlete strives to be the best at what he or she does. Some even think they’re the greatest at what they do. But, when it comes to being The Greatest, the only one who could stake a claim to that title was Ali. From his athleticism to his social activism, there was nobody better.


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