MINNEAPOLIS — The fresh start for wide receiver Michael Floyd’s sidetracked career will come at home in Minnesota.
Floyd agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Vikings on Wednesday.
Floyd finished last season with Super Bowl champion New England after a drunken driving arrest led to his departure from the Arizona Cardinals.
“Coach (Mike) Zimmer and I are confident Michael Floyd has learned and grown from his past decisions,” general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement released by the team. “He has accepted full responsibility and is taking encouraging steps to improve. We have offered Michael the full support and assistance of the Minnesota Vikings organization and our player development programs.
“We are aware that Michael is subject to discipline from the NFL and will work with both him and the NFL in a professional manner. We are excited to have Michael and believe he can be a productive member of our football team and community.”
Floyd is a native of St. Paul, the capital city where he was a two-time winner of the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year award at Cretin-Derham Hall High School — the program that produced NFL players like Steve Walsh, Chris Weinke, Corbin Lacina, Matt Birk, Ryan Harris and Seantrel Henderson, as well as baseball stars Paul Molitor and Joe Mauer.
“I am very excited to come home and play for the Minnesota Vikings,” Floyd said in a statement in the team’s release. “I have been training extremely hard this offseason in addition to taking responsibility and paying the consequences for my mistake. Although I cannot change my past decisions, I have definitely learned from this experience and look forward to making valuable contributions to the Vikings organization and the Minnesota community, both as a player and a person. Time to go to work.”
After three alcohol-related incidents while he was at Notre Dame, including a drunken driving charge the summer before his senior season, Floyd underwent counseling and vowed to disassociate himself from certain people who’d influenced his behavior.
The Cardinals were confident enough in his character to pick him in the first round of the 2012 draft, 13th overall. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Floyd went on to average 823 yards and five touchdowns receiving over his first four years in the league while missing only one game and establishing himself as a speedy, field-stretching sidekick to star Larry Fitzgerald.
In 2016, his production waned, mirroring a drop-off for the entire Cardinals team. Then on Dec. 12, police found him unresponsive at the wheel of his vehicle while it was running at an intersection, reporting a blood alcohol level of 0.217, more than 2 1/2 times legal limit in Arizona.
Released by the Cardinals two days later, Floyd eventually signed with the Patriots and played in two regular-season games with one touchdown catch. He appeared in one playoff game but wasn’t active for the AFC championship game or the Super Bowl.
Floyd pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 to a second offense, extreme drunken driving in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was sentenced to 24 days in jail and 96 days of home confinement, plus alcohol counseling and a $5,000 fine. That means he can’t leave Arizona until June 17, which is after minicamp is over for the Vikings. He’ll be challenged to catch up quickly in training camp, with the likelihood of an NFL-levied suspension looming, as well as punishment for the drunken driving charge.
Floyd, whose contract contains incentives that could push the value as high as $6 million, will be behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. There’s also 2016 first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell coming off a quiet rookie year. Recent draft picks Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley have crowded the depth chart, too, with kickoff return ability adding to their value.
The Vikings will have 12 wide receivers under contract, with Floyd and Jarius Wright the oldest at age 27.