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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Sharrif Floyd’s plea to Linval Joseph: ‘Please come back…I’ll give you my toe’

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Vikings standout nose tackle Linval Joseph has missed the past two games with what’s been described as a foot injury.

The domino effect of the big man’s absence has moved the team’s other starting defensive tackle, Sharrif Floyd, over to nose tackle, and backup Tom Johnson into a starter’s role.

Floyd had a sense of humor about it Tuesday, although he said he doesn’t like playing nose tackle.

He joked after Tuesday’s practice – or was he being serious? – that’s practically begging Joseph to get back on the field. Floyd can go back to playing defensive tackle as soon as Joseph returns, which could be as soon as this Sunday against the Bears.

Let’s just say Floyd is looking forward to that day.

“Losing him has been huge over the weeks,” Floyd said. “I’ve been talking to him every week: ‘Please come back. I understand you’re hurt. I’ll give you my toe. Or at least give me 10 of your pounds because boy oh boy, I respect your job.’”

Floyd’s voice gave a strong hint that his request had a level of urgency. The fact he’s willing to give up his own toe should say plenty about Joseph’s importance to the defense. (Floyd was probably joking about parting with one of his digits.)

“I’m praying for him, hopefully he’s healthy. But I’ve just got to man up and do what the team is asking me to do,” Floyd said.

The past two weeks are the first of Floyd’s young NFL career that he’s had to play nose tackle. And with all the double teams Joseph used to command, it’s easy to see why it would be undesirable.

Joseph was quietly having a very strong season in the unglamorous role on Mike Zimmer’s defense, and perhaps his coming out party in terms of national attention was when he helped bottle up Rams’ rookie running back Todd Gurley in Minnesota’s Week 9 win against St. Louis.

Since the Vikings are also missing Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith, it’s too simplistic to say the loss of Joseph has destroyed Minnesota’s ability to stop the run. But still, the team has given up 173 yards on the ground (Seahawks) and another 97 (Cardinals) in the past two weeks, both losses.

Former Vikings great Kevin Williams played defensive tackle and was asked to move over and play some nose tackle. Williams, the consistent and consummate professional, made it clear he didn’t like the assignment but that he wasn’t going to complain about it if that was the requirement.

Floyd was asked if nose tackle was really all that bad.

“Yes,” he said flatly. Then, he continued with a smile, “Every bad thing you can think of is [at] nose.”

It’s not yet clear is Joseph, who did not practice Tuesday, will be able to return Sunday against the Bears. The Vikings worked out a couple defensive tackles on Tuesday, sources told 1500 ESPN, including former first-round pick Phil Taylor. In the meantime, it appears unlikely that Floyd will be giving up any of his toes.

And there’s no word yet on whether Joseph can spare those 10 pounds.

The post Sharrif Floyd’s plea to Linval Joseph: ‘Please come back…I’ll give you my toe’ appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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