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Notebook: Michael Floyd Focused on Improvement, Work Ethic

MANKATO, Minn. — Like all of his teammates, Adam Thielen's plan is to grind away during camp and the preseason to get ready for when the games matter most.

But with Floyd suspended for the first four games of the season, the Vikings wide receiver knows this is a critical time to make an impression on Minnesota's coaching staff.

"I'm still learning the playbook so I'm taking every single day as a learning process," Floyd said. "I'm trying to get better every single day so it doesn't matter if I'm not out there for the first games.

"You still have to prepare like you're going to play," Floyd added. "That's just me and how I am. That's how I'm going to move forward."

Floyd was signed by the Vikings as a free agent this spring. The league announced his four-game suspension earlier this month.

"I'm happy it's all over because now I can focus on football and what's important," Floyd said. "You always hope it's a less of a suspension but they gave me what they decided on.

"I have to live with it and move forward and prepare every single day like any other day," Floyd added.

The Minnesota native has 246 career receptions for 3,781 yards and 24 touchdowns in five seasons.

Floyd said he's felt right at home since joining his hometown team.

"Since I've been here, they've been great supporters," Floyd said. "The whole organization, especially my teammates, they've been exceptional and great to me. I appreciate that."

Floyd added he's excited to see game action in the preseason before not being able to play the first four games of the year.

"I'm just happy to be out there and play and show what I've got," Floyd said. "As far as the preseason, it's always fun.

"The only difference is guys don't tackle how they do during the season," Floyd added. "It's about getting everything down pat with whatever quarterback is out there."

Barr committed to increased effort in 2017

The Vikings hit the field for a hot afternoon practice Thursday, their first as a full team since the veterans reported Wednesday.

Linebacker Anthony Barr, entering his fourth season in Purple, said it was exciting to be back on the gridiron and prepping for another year. While acknowledging that Minnesota's defense was strong last year, Barr said they need to better in critical game situations.

"Third down, red zone, two-minute situations, [those] are all areas that we can improve on," Barr said. "I think if we can improve in those areas, we'll improve as a unit."

Barr also spoke to personal goals he's set for 2017.

He said he has "a long way to go."

"It starts with my effort, and I tend on picking that up," Barr said. "That's a big emphasis for me this offseason, and I feel good right now."

Barr is Minnesota's most-experienced linebacker after Chad Greenway retired following the 2016 season. In working with the crew of younger players, a few of whom could compete for the third linebacker spot, Barr said that it's a healthy atmosphere within the position group.

"We got no egos in our room; everyone pulls for one another," Barr said. "We all want to be great, we all push each other to be great. I learn stuff from them, they learn stuff from me, it goes both ways. [There are open] lines of communication, and they're improving every day.

"You can't replace a guy like Chad," Barr later added. "It's going to be a collective effort to try to do that, and I think we're all ready to step up and fill that void."

All together now

The running back room also seems to be one that's ego-free.

While Jerick McKinnon knows he's with Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook for carries in 2017, he said the collective focus is to improve as a unit.

"It's going to be a good competition, it's a good group," McKinnon said. "[Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu] has been pushing us all through OTAs to just come out here, define ourselves as a running back group and just push each other to be better this year."

McKinnon feels it's too early to define the exact role he'll hold this season, but he vowed to do whatever it is "100 percent." Entering his fourth season with the Vikings, McKinnon said he still has a lot to prove. His goal this camp is to put everything he can onto practice film and leave the coaches with a positive impression.

One area in which McKinnon wants to improve is in outside zone plays.

"Coach P has really defined it more for me and made it a lot easier; I'm not thinking so much," McKinnon said. "Not just that play, but certain plays. It's really minimized the thinking I've been doing and just letting me go off athletic ability."

Sendejo grateful for defensive consistency

With one training camp practice under his belt, safety Andrew Sendejo said there were a few mistakes that can be ironed out after day one, but it was an overall positive session in which the defense "started out fast."

"We just preach getting better every day, so we'll watch the film, correct the mistakes and then move on to the next day," Sendejo said.

He emphasized the significance of the consistency the Vikings have kept on defense over the past couple of seasons.

"Yeah, it definitely helps to have pretty much the whole D back," Sendejo said. "It makes the communication better, you kind of already know guys are going to be in the right spots and making the calls, and you're just working together, you just get used to working with one another."

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