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What are the Vikings’ options if they move on from Michael Floyd?

The Minnesota Vikings will likely be in wait-and-see mode over the coming days as they monitor Michael Floyd’s legal situation.

Floyd, who has been under house arrest as part of his sentence for a severe DUI in December 2016, will be in court June 26 to answer for a positive blood alcohol test. He is not allowed to consume alcohol while under house arrest and has been tested multiple times per day since mid-March.

Floyd offered an explanation on Friday via a statement:

“Michael was five days away from the end of his home monitoring. Prior to and after this incident, Michael has not had any alcohol whatsoever since the start of his home monitoring. Unfortunately, the kombucha teas that Michael did drink resulted in a positive blood alcohol content reading.”

It will be difficult for Floyd to prove that the tea, which includes tiny amounts of alcohol, was actually the cause of his positive reading.

If the court elects to hand down further punishment, that could mean the end of Floyd’s tenure with the Vikings. The team can release him without any penalty on the salary cap because his contract includes zero guaranteed dollars.

Moving on from Floyd would leave the Vikings’ group of weapons weakened as they had expected the Minneapolis native to provide them with a deep threat that previously hadn’t existed on the roster.

How might the Vikings fill in the gap? Here are five possibilities:

Sign Eric Decker or Anquan Boldin

Neither free agent wide receiver offers the ability to stretch the field like Floyd, but Decker and Boldin are both proven possession receivers who could improve the Vikings’ woes in the red zone.

Decker has pulled in double-digit touchdowns in three of his last five seasons. His 2016 was shortened by injury and the former Bronco and Jet still grabbed two touchdowns in three games. The one potential snag is that Decker will have all types of options as it’s rare that a player of his caliber comes on the market this late in the offseason.

Boldin may be on the wrong side of 35, but he provided plenty of evidence last year that he can still play. The soon-to-be 37-year-old receiver caught 67 passes and eight touchdowns with the Detroit Lions. Nine of his catches and two of Boldin’s touchdowns came against the Vikings. Signing Boldin could be difficult as the veteran receiver reportedly wants to play close to his home in Florida.

UPDATE: Eric Decker signed with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday 

The best remaining wide receiver free agents are: Eddie Royal and Steve Johnson

Trust Laquon Treadwell

There has been a lot of praise for Laquon Treadwell’s offseason progress over the past few weeks. During OTAs, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he has seen improvement in one major area where the 2016 first-round pick struggled last season:

“Laquon is an extremely hard worker, maybe he even works too hard, he’ll come in evenings and work,” Zimmer said. “He’s been running routes good, he’s caught the ball well…I think he’s developing a trust with the quarterback. That’s most important, that trust with receivers, that they can get the right depth and be in the right place.”

If Treadwell has truly improved and is ready to step into a significant role, then he could provide a similar skill set to Decker and Boldin, using his size and strength to win battles for the ball. Even if the former Ole Miss star has grown, relying on a player who performed so poorly in Year 1 carries a long a great deal of risk.

Build around the running game

While the Vikings may have ranked dead last in Yards Per Carry last season, they have overhauled the running game by signing two quality run-blocking tackles, drafting Dalvin Cook and Pat Elflein signing  Latavius Murray. There is no question the NFL is a “passing league,” but teams also have to play to their strengths.

The Vikings’ offense could be effective by being excellent in the running game and serviceable through the air. Take the 2016 Tennessee Titans for example. With a good offensive line, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, the Titans were an elite rushing team, ranking fourth in Yards Per Rush Attempt and rushed the fourth most times in the NFL. Tennessee also ranked 12th in Yards Per Pass Attempt, which resulted in finishing ninth overall in Yards Per Play and 14th in Points For.

If the Vikings repeated those rankings and received the type of defensive excellence we expect, they would cruise into the playoffs without requiring Sam Bradford to take huge leaps forward. Jumping from last to the top five is a lot to ask, but plausible considering across-the-board improvements.

Use Jerick McKinnon more in the passing game

Throughout his first three seasons, McKinnon has occasionally been used as a receiver. He made a memorable touchdown catch out of the slot against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. At this stage, moving him to receiver full time would be a lot to ask, but using him in two-back sets and in the slot could be a viable option to replace some of the expected production from Floyd.

  • Gordon Guffey

    You guys at RSPN1500 keep forgetting about Wright who has shown he can get open deep and has the hands to catch the ball to boot ~ One more time ~ As a backup he has long catches of 65~2012 then 42~2013 then 87~2014 then 52~2015 and last year we all kind of knew the Vikings were taking one last looks at Patterson before he became a FA ~ Wright nor Patterson were not in Norv’s plans so neither got any playing time under him unless someone was hurt ~
    As a part time player Wright has 135 catches for 1,841 yards while averaging 13.6 a catch ~

    Given more playing time and he should be just fine as the #3 WR is Treadwell doesn’t come through ((( based on what I have seen Treadwell is looking very good in OTA so far ~ Maybe as good as anyone else ))) and Wright is a proven #4 WR at worse ~ From what vikings.come has show in the OTA camps he is running with the first team ~ Not Floyd ~ And he is getting open and catching the balls that come his way ~ JMHO here but I believe he beats out Floyd and Wright is a clean player who stays out of trouble ~ If Floyd some how makes the team he will be in line behind Wright who still has another 2 or 3 years left on a less than average contract ~

    • cka2nd

      I admit that I have soured on Wright – I don’t think he’s fulfilled the promise of his first season or two – but if no other veterans are brought in, he is certainly an adequate WR4 and a perfect back-up for Diggs.

      • Hard to fulfill promises when they don’t put you in the game.

    • Andre Esters

      I agree, J.Wright is definitely a solid backup plan instead of desperately throwing money at free agents.
      With Thielen being the largest starting WR locked in, Diggs, Treadwell, Wright, and one of the rookies can make for a decent WR rotation. Can’t forget about how much Bradford loves him some Rudolph.

  • brian199511

    I hope what Floyd is saying is true, why drink with five days left on monitoring, it makes no sense. Many food and drink items have alcohol including “non-alcoholic” beer and wine.

    • SkolMN

      You can’t make sense of addiction

    • Billy Franks

      He would have had to drink a lot of that tea to register a .05. He’s lying. Cut him and move on.

      • brian199511

        Vikings management came out and admitted they advised him to drink the
        tea not knowing it had alcohol content and the content was increased
        since he did not refrigerate it per a forensic doctor. I am hoping he learned his lesson, gets his life straightened out as well as help the team.

    • brocklanders

      Floyd is lying… Floyd is a liar… I mean in his arrest video he tells the cops that he was on his way to the airport to pick up his nephew… He was just found passed out behind the wheel of his car (with his car still in gear) at a stop light at 2:45AM and he is telling the cops that he is on his way to pick up his nephew… He is a liar. cut him and move on.

      • brian199511

        Vikings management came out and admitted they advised him to drink the tea not knowing it had alcohol content and the content was increased since he did not refrigerate it. I am hoping he learned his lesson and gets his life straightened out as well as help the team.

        • brocklanders

          Vikings management is lying too then… All of a sudden out of the blue the guys just starts guzzling this beverage that had never before caused him to fail one of his tests? It is a lie. He didn’t find out about the failed tests until 2 days later… Why did he stop drinking this beverage that he couldn’t get enough of on June 10th June 11th as well? I mean his BAC kept going down so did he just stop drinking this miracle drink?

  • Scott Mitchell

    I don’t think I would sign him, but I must say that Aquan Boldin is a TOUGH football player.

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  • Gordon Guffey

    We were getting so much AP is doing great news here for a while ~ Well here is some anti AP news and it might have a huge effect on him and Brees in the first game ~~~~~~~~~

    Zach Strief: Terron Armstead tore labrum in bag drill
    Posted by Mike Florio on June 17, 2017, 4:00 PM EDT
    AP

    So how does a football player suffer a significant shoulder injury during
    non-contact* workouts? By contact with an inanimate object.

    Saints tackle Zach Strief told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday that tackle Terron Armstead tore his labrum while hitting a bag during individual drills.

    With Armstead out four-to-six months, Strief explained that Ryan Ramczyk,
    Brice Harris, and Khalif Barnes are the primary candidates to replace
    Armstead on the left side. Streif called Ramczyk, a rookie first-round
    pick, the frontrunner.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/06/17/zach-strief-terron-armstead-tore-labrum-in-bag-drill/

  • Brent

    they seem to have a lot of tall tight ends…

    • Andre Esters

      Lots of 2 TE sets or see how Hodges feels about joining the WR group… dude could be a Mike Evans type of option…

  • linus

    For what it’s worth, several brands of kombucha tea were tested at the University of Maine and found to contain alcohol levels of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent (i.e., up to half as much as beer). So Floyd’s excuse is plausible.

    • Brandon Erickson

      And in a court of law all you need is plausible deniability. The severity of what they’re claiming he did though, it does seem rather deep

  • MC

    The guy made a mistake, and his story is believable. I dont know why they would cut bait. Floyd knows hes gonna have to pay for what he did, and now hes just going to be on house arrest longer

    • JB

      It’s not his first mistake

      • Todd Jordan

        It is like his 3rd or 4th mistake in less than 1 year. That is a problem.

    • brocklanders

      You think that story is believable? Are you joking? People have done the math and he would have had to drink 34 12oz teas in an hour just to get up to the point where he would have failed the test like he did….

      • Or, if he wanted to blame it on the tea, he could have opened some up, added another tablespoon of sugar to re-kindle the fermentation and make his own booze.

  • Andre Esters

    If I had to rank my faith in this post-Floyd game plan, it would look something like this:
    Use McKinnon more!
    Expect a lot from a 1st rounder
    Build around the run game
    Possibly sign a vet…

    Having 3 RB’s who can all dice up the defense in some form or fashion is quite the luxury. Look at the wonders it did for Atlanta, and they were working with 2 talented RB’s.
    Expecting anything from a one-catch player IS a tall order, but in all respects… isn’t that what all teams are doing when drafting college players? Hoping they figure it out and become a quick contributor…. well, sometimes the quick part doesn’t happen so quickly. So either the Vikes can be ultra-sour and do everything in their power to move on from a 1st rounder (which is silly)… or… ya know… actually do what their paid to do. Find a way to maximize Treadwell’s skill and knowledge; don’t give up on the kid, especially since you’ll look beyond stupid for drafting him in the first place if you cut bait too soon.
    And of course, if I’m gonna be so bold to dictate how the coaches “should” do their jobs… I’ll go one step further and say there is NO reason to run a Norv Turner “this is how its done, no matter what kind of players we have” type of system.
    Please Minnesota coaches —
    including head honcho Zimmer — please don’t constrict this talented roster by fitting square pegs into peanut holes. Be flexible, live a little dangerous, take the good with the bad, and let this roster rip loose!

  • Jeeves

    Everyone’s body reacts a little differently to things. If Michael Floyd insists that his story is accurate, then they will have to replicate the situation with the exact same tea and have it monitored by officials to ensure there is no fudging. It would be the simplest way to clear the air one way or the other. Then we could move on to the next story.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Wow I would never have thought of this from a tea ~

    No kombucha in the stores? Here’s why

    Kombucha, the fermented tea drink that’s exploding
    in popularity, was recently pulled from stores shelves across the nation
    after regulators found higher than expected levels of alcohol. A Maine
    entrepreneur thinks he’s the reason why.
    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/no-kombucha-in-the-stores-heres-why





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Previous Story Zulgad: Vikings fans get reminder that purple positivity doesn’t last for long Next Story No homecoming: Eric Decker reportedly reaches one-year agreement with Titans