It’s a distinct possibility given that the mysterious injury that sidelined Floyd last season after just one game now looks to be more career-threatening than initially thought.
USA Today detailed the problems that Floyd has been experiencing since having surgery to repair his meniscus last season. Sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated that, during the surgery on Floyd’s right knee, the nerve connecting the quad muscle in his upper right leg was disrupted during surgery and, six months later, still isn’t healing properly.
When Floyd had the meniscus surgery, the conventional wisdom was he would be sidelined approximately six weeks, which explains why the Vikings never put him on injured reserve, where he could have been placed for eight weeks with the potential to return.
They were waiting for the quad to respond, but it never did. Last weekend, Floyd sent out a cryptic Instagram post asking God to “Grant me one last run. I promise I’ll lay my soul on the line.”
The timing of the injury coincided with Floyd’s fifth-year option of his rookie contract – and the $6.76 million that came with it – was coming due. If Floyd had underwhelmed in 2016 but been healthy, the Vikings could have asked him to accept a pay cut or simply cut him loose. Instead, because he was injured at the deadline to pick up or decline the option (which would have made Floyd an immediate unrestricted free agent), the Vikings couldn’t release him. His $6.76 million salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed for injury.
The uncertainty of Floyd’s status brought into clearer focus why the Vikings made a run at free agent Datone Jones. A defensive end and outside linebacker with the Packers, Jones is viewed as a defensive lineman in Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme and Zimmer has stated publicly he believes Jones has the skill set to play a three-technique defensive tackle – the role Floyd played for four seasons with the Vikings.
After having two procedures last fall, Floyd’s future is clearly up in the air. It’s uncertain if another procedure will be required or if time is the only potential chance for Floyd to heal from his injury, which has been an issue for him throughout his career.
Until last season, Floyd’s right knee was his “good” knee. He had minor surgery on his left knee during training camp of his rookie season and had a cleanup procedure in his left knee in 2015, forcing him to miss four games.
A lot of times it isn’t a lack of talent that can end a player’s career, it’s that the body breaks down under the constant stress that violent contact creates. With two surgically repaired knees and lingering aftereffects impacting his right quad, which can basically shut down almost all leg rehabilitation following surgery, there is the very real possibility that Floyd’s career could be coming to a premature end.
We likely won’t know for sure until the Vikings put on helmets and pads and get back onto the field as to whether Floyd will be able to make a return to the game, but as things currently stand, his career is in limbo and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether his late response to the rehab process will kick in and he can return to action or if we’ve seen the last of the former first-round draft pick from the Class of 2013.