The 2013 first-round draft pick played in only one game in 2016 before a knee injury was a source of frustration for him and head coach Mike Zimmer. While the Vikings expected Floyd to return in a matter of weeks after surgery in September to clean up the meniscus in his right knee, he never did, eventually landing on season-ending injured reserve.
USA Today reported in March that the nerve the controls Floyd’s quadriceps was “disrupted” during the surgery and the quad still wasn’t firing.
One of Floyd’s posts on Instagram in March pleaded to “the big guy #upabove … praying my road doesn’t end here. … Don’t let me go out this way. All I ask is for a fighting chance … this game means so much to me and the foundation is still being laid one stone at a time.”
Now that the Vikings have returned to Winter Park for offseason conditioning, teammates have had a chance to catch up with Floyd and most offer him emotional support.
“I’m not going to talk about his knee issues and what’s going on with that, but we want him back,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “Sharrif, when he’s healthy, he’s a very elite three-technique and I’m praying for him and I’m hoping that everything starts acting right so he gets back to where we need him to be.”
Floyd became a regular starter at the three-technique defensive tackle position in 2014, Zimmer’s first year as head coach of the Vikings. The team needed to make a decision on Floyd’s future last May and exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which guarantees his salary for 2017, but this latest injury concern is the biggest.
“He’s good. I try to crack the jokes here and there, but I think he’s doing alright, but it would tough on a guy,” Griffen said. “I know it would be tough on me.”