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Updated: June 19th, 2013 7:52pm
Notebook: Sharrif Floyd begins rotating in with Vikings' first string

Notebook: Sharrif Floyd begins rotating in with Vikings' first string

by Andrew Krammer and Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Sharrif Floyd stayed after practice as usual, taking extra reps alongside fellow rookie Anthony McCloud and working on technique after the second practice of Minnesota Vikings minicamp.

Floyd's work ethic was seemingly rewarded on Wednesday, when he received reps inside with the first-team nickel defense alongside veteran Letroy Guion.

"I don't look at it as first team, second team, third team," Floyd said. "No matter what team is out there, we're always competing. I'm just rotating with the guys and doing what I'm told."

Floyd, the Vikings top pick (23rd overall) in April's draft, said he's not in a rush to put pads on for training camp, because he said there's still more he can learn in shorts and a helmet.

"We're going to hit no matter what," Floyd said. "That's the name of the game in the trenches. It's not frustrating -- it's about learning good techniques."

Playing in nickel would mean Floyd would be expected to provide a pass rush -- something he struggled to do consistently at Florida, where he recorded 4½ sacks over the past two seasons. It also may be his best chance to get on the field, with Kevin Williams entrenched as the three-technique.

The Vikings need all the pass rush they can get inside. Guion had two sacks last season, as did Williams and Fred Evans. Christian Ballard had one.

"He's quick-twitch," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said of Floyd, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds.

"He can anchor in the run (game). He's very disruptive at the three (technique), and he has good pass rush moves. I know his stats may not have shown it, but he's been tremendous in these OTAs and again, he's another one we can't wait to get the pads on."

Going deep

Stephen Burton helped make Wednesday one of Christian Ponder's better outings in front of media this offseason, hauling in a pass for a roughly 40-yard gain on a deep crossing route.

Jerome Simpson caught a deep ball in another team (11-on-11) period and Ponder finished 14-of-20 passing -- exactly the same as Tuesday's opening practice of minicamp, though the way he got to those numbers was far more impressive.

"It's coming along well," Burton said of the intermediate-to-deep passing game. "We're improving every day. Christian is improving, continually doing his thing."

Ponder, who will conduct his minicamp media conference on Thursday, was turnover-free for the day. The only interception in team drills was by Chris Cook, who picked off rookie fourth-stringer James Vandenberg on an in-breaking route intended for Chris Summers.

"We always want to be accurate and we're always working on our feet in the quarterback room," Musgrave said. "(Ponder's) decision-making we're assessing every day with all these competitive periods. It's been good."

Backup Matt Cassel was 11-of-17 passing. McLeod Bethel-Thompson was 4-of-6 and Vandenberg 1-of-2 with the interception.

Health watch

Tight end Rhett Ellison (calf) and safety Mistral Raymond (hamstring) were new addition to the group watching on practice from the sideline on Wednesday.

Halfback Adrian Peterson also sat out, but that was part of his regularly scheduled rest, not anything related to his offseason sports hernia surgery.

Receiver Greg Childs, who went through some individual drills on Tuesday as he tries to return from bilateral patellar tendon tears, didn't do anything on Wednesday.

Continuing to sit out were: center John Sullivan (knee), end Jared Allen (shoulder/knee), linebackers Chad Greenway (knee) and Nathan Williams (ankle), cornerback Jacob Lacey (thumb) and safety Greg McCoy (hamstring).

Quick hits

• Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson continued to get the first rep on kick returns, ahead of Marcus Sherels, Josh Robinson, A.J. Jefferson and Joe Webb. "I think he's more comfortable catching kickoffs right now than punts, like a lot of young guys," special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. "But we're making progress in both phases." If the season began now, Priefer said, Sherels would remain the punt returner.

• Burton's long catch contributed to his most visible day of the offseason, at least among the practices open to reporters. "That's taking a step forward in the right direction," Burton said of his catch. "I have no real specialty. Wherever they need me, I'll go to that spot and make it work."

• CB Bobby Felder had an impressive, diving interception after the ball was jarred loose from WR Greg Jennings during a 7-on-7 passing drill.

• Minicamp is scheduled to wrap for a shorter practice on Thursday morning. Players are then off until they report to training camp on July 25 in Mankato.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer
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