Minnesota Vikings offense has markedly different look over the last two weeks

In less than two weeks, the Minnesota Vikings offense has undergone significant change at the skill positions in the post-Peterson era set to begin.

The announcement Wednesday that the Minnesota Vikings had signed wide receiver Michael Floyd has added a new dimensional layer to the offense.

Moving up in the second round of the draft to make a bold run at running back with Dalvin Cook transformed the look of the 2017 Vikings running game, and the signing of Floyd may have a similar impact on the passing game.

Just as Cook brings the threat of the home run ball to the running game, so does Floyd to the passing game. Spending his career in the shadow of Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Floyd was never asked to be a No. 1 receiver. He was asked to be a designated deep threat.

In his final three full seasons with the Cardinals (2013-15), Floyd caught 164 passes for 2,731 yards – a 16.7 yard average – and 17 touchdowns. He never reached the status of an elite wide receiver, but, with three seasons averaging 55 receptions and 900 yards, it gets your attention.

There is no such thing as having too many good players at one position, especially when the Vikings are replacing one first-round wide receiver (Cordarrelle Patterson) on the roster with another – Floyd was the 13th pick of the 2012 draft.

However, until the second half of last season, Patterson was never really much of a factor on the offensive side of things. He was a lethal return man, but his contribution to the offense was marginal at best. Patterson never was in competition for the No. 1 receiver on the team since early on in his rookie season. He was organizational depth at the wide receiver position and a standout on special teams.

Floyd isn’t that guy. He’s much more polished and consistently productive than Patterson ever was on offense.

So what is his role with the Vikings?

Both Cook and Latavius Murray come to the Vikings with a legitimate chance to carve out their own role from Day 1. What about Floyd?

In the pecking order of the Vikings wide receivers, Stefon Diggs has established himself as the No. 1 guy. In 13 games, he caught 84 passes for 903 yards and three touchdowns. However, Adam Thielen emerged with 69 catches for a team-high 967 yards and five touchdowns. Stacked in between them was Kyle Rudolph, who caught 83 passes for 840 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns.

People remember Patterson’s role increasing with the offense, but it was almost exclusively screen plays or short slants caught a couple of yards from the line of scrimmage.

That isn’t the role Floyd has ever played. Patterson averaged less than nine yards per reception last year. Floyd is a downfield threat. His mere addition to the roster will impact the big scheme of things in the Vikings passing game. He is a talented player – the Cards were willing to pay his fifth-year option – who is signed on an incentive-laden one-year contract.

Two weeks ago, the Vikings had a receiving corps that was entirely comprised of the same guys from 2016 and a Murray-Jerick McKinnon two-headed backfield.

Two weeks later, things have changed significantly.

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