After two arrests for DUI, one while in college and one last December when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals, wide receiver Michael Floyd is calling his latest opportunity with the Minnesota Vikings a “last straw” chance for him.
“I think you have chances in life and the thing that happened to me, I think them taking a chance at me was the last straw,” Floyd said on Wednesday after his second practice with the Vikings. “You want to accomplish all your goals and stuff like that, you’ve got to have your head on straight. They know that’s what I’m doing now and I’m focused on helping this club win ballgames and learn.”
Floyd is learning the Vikings’ playbook, but he will also have to prove he has learned his lesson when it comes to drinking and driving. Police in Arizona said Floyd had a blood-alcohol level of .217 and a police video of his arrest backs up law enforcement’s version that Floyd was asleep behind the wheel at a stoplight, where the arresting officer said he slept through two cycles of that stoplight.
Floyd said he hasn’t watched the video of himself in that inebriated state.
“Everything that I’ve been through is just eye-opening. The stuff that you’ve been through, positive or negative, just grows you as a person,” Floyd said. “I couldn’t be in a better position right now. Especially being at home with family and friends and also having teammates on the team that I can lean on for anything.”
He is right. He couldn’t ask for a better support system than to move back to his native Minnesota and be near family and be able to lean on college teammates that are now his Vikings teammates.
Floyd is now living in the basement of Kyle Rudolph’s house after the two were roommates for three years at Notre Dame. He has another former Notre Dame teammate, Harrison Smith, in the locker room. But, ultimately, Floyd’s “last-straw” opportunity will be up to him.
In high school, Floyd couldn’t wait to get away from home, jumping at the chance to play for Notre Dame, where he worked his way into becoming the 13th overall draft choice of the Cardinals. There, too, he said he was excited to experience a new home in Arizona.
“I’m a person I always wanted to get away. That’s why I chose the University of Notre Dame, to get away and kind of see different environments, different people,” Floyd said. “A lot of Minnesota people, they kind of stick together so I wanted to meet new people in my life. I was excited to go down to Arizona and join a different club. It’s funny how things turned out that I’m right back at home.”
“Home” will be where Floyd either resurrects his career, sees it end or is forced to hope another team gives him yet another chance.
Here for only a week now after his house arrest was transferred to Minnesota, he says his new teammates have embraced him.
“They welcomed me with open arms. A lot of guys, you know, you come on a new team and you feel like that random rookie. But I think I know a lot of guys enough on this team that they’ve welcomed me in with excitement and joy,” he said.
The possibilities with Floyd are intriguing for sure. He will likely spend the first few games of the season suspended by the NFL for his latest DUI, but he brings a titillating blend of size and speed. Both were on display Wednesday as the media had its first chance to view him in a Vikings practice.
On the field, he didn’t disappoint. And both on and off the field, the rest of his story is yet to be written.
He could turn out like Cris Carter, who battled drug problems and was infamously released by Buddy Ryan and the Philadelphia Eagles 2½ decades ago. The Vikings claimed him off waivers for $100 and surrounded him with a support staff.
Carter turned his life around and turned his career into Hall of Fame worthy. He said earlier this month he believes Minnesota could do the same for Floyd.
Floyd said he texted Rudolph and told him he was staying in his teammate’s basement so he could “save some money,” but said he isn’t going to change any diapers from Rudolphs’ infant twins.
Floyd has his own mess to clean up first, and Minnesota, the place he wanted to leave so badly in high school, could be his best opportunity to do that.