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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Notebook: Sharrif Floyd OK after leaving because of knee injury

MINNEAPOLIS — This was the type of scare the Minnesota Vikings did not need.

With 6 minutes, 55 seconds left in the second quarter of the team’s preseason opener on Friday night against Houston at the Metrodome, first-round pick Sharrif Floyd went to the turf and did not get up after a 2-yard carry by Texans running back Cierre Wood.

Floyd, a defensive tackle who was taken with the 23rd pick in the draft, was attended to by athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and others who examined his left knee. Floyd eventually walked off the field under his own power but did not return.

“He should be fine,” coach Leslie Frazier said after the Vikings’ 27-13 loss. “We could have put him back in the game, but decided (with) where we were at this time of the year we didn’t (need to).”

Floyd said he got cut from behind on a block, adding, “everything is perfectly fine, there are no problems.”

Floyd is expected to begin this season backing up Kevin Williams at the 3-technique. However, Williams was among the veterans held out on Friday, giving Floyd more of a chance. Christian Ballard got the start inside alongside nose tackle Letroy Guion.

Floyd finished with a tackle for a loss and also deflected a pass by Texans quarterback T.J. Yates.

“I felt as though everything went well,” Floyd said. “Obviously I can get better at everything I do. So I’ll go back, sit down with coach and find all the ways to get better.”

‘Chariot Ride’

Rookie fullback Zach Line knew there was nothing but green in front of him and as a result his first touch in the NFL turned into a 61-yard touchdown. Line, an undrafted free agent out of SMU, caught a short pass from Matt Cassel in the second quarter and then took off.

“As I came out of the backfield, I saw it was pretty wide open,” Line said. “I knew they were going to flow over the top and that’s when I saw Stephen [Burton] make a nice block for me, made it easy for me to get down the field.”

Line broke a couple of tackles, but needed a block by Burton to spring him loose for the score. “Seriously, it was like a chariot riding down the sidelines until the very end,” Line said. “A little bit of drama, but it worked out.”

Ups and Downs

Frazier said receiver Stephen Burton has had his ups and downs throughout his brief career and needed to show consistency this preseason if he had any shot of making the 53-man roster.

Burton, a seventh-round pick by the Vikings in 2011, flashed his consistency on Friday night as he finished with three catches for a team-high 67 yards and the touchdown-sealing block for Line.

Other than Line’s 61-yard touchdown reception, Burton had the highlight of the night with a 56-yard catch-and-run off a Cassel pass in the first quarter.

Burton ran from right-to-left across the field, catching Cassel’s pass on a crossing route when he cut back to the right and made defenders miss. Burton was able to get to the Texans 18-yard line.

“After I caught the ball, defensive backs are told to pursue, so with the way I was going he expected me pretty much, I believe, to continue to cut across the field in the direction I was going,” Burton said. “It was just a little bit catching him off guard. He wasn’t on his toes.”

Quick Hits

Wide receiver Greg Jennings, playing in his first game with the Vikings after leaving Green Bay as a free agent last March, did not have any receptions in two passing plays with the first-team offense.

Offensive line reserves struggled late, giving up two sacks of fourth-string quarterback James Vandenberg and one each for Cassel and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

The Vikings inactive list included cornerbacks A.J. Jefferson (ankle), Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) and Jacob Lacey (knee); running back Adrian Peterson; linebackers Chad Greenway and Desmond Bishop (groin); center Joe Berger (personal); defensive ends Jared Allen (ankle) and Brian Robison; and defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
by Judd Zulgad and Andrew Krammer

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