While injuries are almost never good news for teams, they do open doors for other players. That will most certainly be the case for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams has been ruled out for the team’s opener against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury. In his absence, rookie Sharrif Floyd will be expected to step up and prove he was worthy of a first round selection this past April in the draft.
Most analysts viewed Floyd as a steal for the Vikings at the No. 23 spot in the first round, as some had him pegged as a top-five prospect. His NFL career didn’t get off to a great start as he also had knee problems in the preseason. The rookie DT underwent minor surgery but says he’s ready to go in his pro debut. Although most fans are assuming Floyd will get the start in Williams’ absence, head coach Leslie Frazier has yet to make an official announcement.
“We’re going to make that decision as we talk a little bit more about our depth chart tonight and tomorrow. We feel like we’ll have a good rotation to get those guys through. We feel pretty good about it,” said Frazier.
Translation – even if Floyd doesn’t start, he’s going to play early and often.
If things pan out like most expect they will, Floyd will get frequent playing time all year in 2013 and will likely become a full-time starter in 2014. Williams, an 11-year veteran, is entering the last year of his contract with Minnesota.