When the Minnesota Vikings signed Michael Floyd this offseason, they knew he wouldn’t be playing the same role as he did in Arizona. But they likely expected him to have a role. Through 10 games, Floyd has just five catches for 47 yards.
In a 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Floyd two catches for 16 yards – one of which came on an outstanding diving grab. He only played 16 total snaps against L.A., which is the most playing time for Floyd since Week 6 vs. Green Bay.
Since returning from a four-game suspension to start the season, former Cardinal has only played 78 snaps, but he’s been slowed by a hamstring injury. In his first two contests, Floyd played 32 and 38 snaps, but missed the Vikings’ win over the Ravens and only saw the field for eight total plays against Cleveland and Washington.
If his increased playing time last week combined with Laquon Treadwell’s reduced snaps (Treadwell has played less than 40% of snaps the last three weeks and had a season-low vs. L.A.), we could see more of Floyd soon.
But two factors will likely limit his role. First, the Vikings have two of the NFL’s best deep-threat receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, so working the ball to another pure deep-threat receiver isn’t a top priority. Veteran Jarius Wright has shown that he can step in and have an impact. Against Washington he grabbed a seven-yard screen pass for a touchdown and vs. the Rams, Wright took a drag route over the middle for 23 yards.
Second, David Morgan.
The Vikings’ play-action game has been incredibly good this season with Morgan on the field. Heading into Sunday’s game, they ranked third in the NFL on play-action, in part because the Vikings use sets with two tight ends, then throw down field to Diggs and Thielen.
Morgan has been on the field for more than 40% of snaps the last three weeks and 51% against the Rams.
His presence forces opposing teams to choose between a package with enough DBs to handle the Vikings’ star receivers or enough linebackers to slow down a strong running game with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.
Floyd’s usage could depend on the health of Diggs, who battled a groin injury earlier this year, and opponents’ adjustments to the Vikings’ 2 TE scheme.
Floyd’s signing and suspension was a significant talking point over the offseason – and he was very good during training camp – but it appears the Vikings do not have a big role for him at the moment and may continue to split the usage up between he, Treadwell and Wright.