Former Vikings Defender Joins Commanders Coaching Staff

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Former general manager Rick Spielman made some successful selections in the first round and whiffed on some others. That should be expected when making the final calls for as long as he did. Injuries caused some misses as they couldn’t showcase their talent on the field. Cornerback Mike Hughes comes to mind, just like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Who knows what would’ve been?

Former Vikings Defender Joins Commanders Coaching Staff

Former Vikings Defender Joins Commanders Coaching Staff
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

But the poster boy of those unfortunate health problems cutting a career short is defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who Spielman selected in 2013. The GM entered the draft with two first-rounders because he shipped Percy Harvin to Seattle. That pick turned into Xavier Rhodes. He also drafted Cordarrelle Patterson after trading up with the Patriots.

Floyd was his first pick, with the original draft capital assigned to Minnesota. While his career was cut short because of a botched surgery following a meniscus injury, the 32-year-old will continue his coaching journey. Just last year, the Dallas Cowboys hired him as an assistant defensive line coach and defensive quality control coach. None of those positions is glamorous, but it is how many notable coaches in the NFL started.

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As his defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, left the Cowboys and joined the division rival in Washington as the new head coach, the Cowboys hired Mike Zimmer. Zimmer was Floyd’s coach in Minnesota, and the duo had a public feud in 2018. They will not reunite in Dallas as Floyd followed Quinn to Washington. He will once again be the assistant DL coach, according to Ian Rapoport.

When the Vikings acquired the defender in 2013, he was supposed to fill a need on the defensive line. A two-year starter at Florida State, Floyd was supposed to improve the interior of Leslie Frazier’s defense. Some draft pundits had him as their top defensive tackle in the draft class, and he surely lived up to that hype early in his career.

In 43 games in his first three seasons, Floyd tabulated 9.5 sacks and 95 tackles, although his numbers don’t fully show his impact on the field. Unfortunately, he would only play one more game with the Vikings in 2016. Knee problems held him out of the remainder of his fourth campaign. On March 30, 2017, nerve damage in his knee was revealed, and he didn’t play another game in his career.

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During the 2016 season, when Floyd was kept out of the lineup by his knee, Zimmer was asked about him and commented “out of sight, out of mind,” regarding his defender, adding that he “is used to” not having his player available.

Two years later, Floyd made a lengthy post on Instagram with those quotes, noting that his former head coach “used the words to slander my name, tarnish me as a person and a player.”

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Ultimately, it was unfortunate as the nerve damage wasn’t known to the Vikings or the player at that time. Had it been known, some thoughts perhaps would’ve been articulated differently. While he was robbed of his playing career, it is good to see him around the game to teach players some of his skills and support them through the dark times of an injury.

Zimmer and Floyd will match up twice in the upcoming season. Neither is scheduled to meet the Vikings in the regular season.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt