If there was any question about the effect CB Antoine Winfield has on the Vikings defense, that question was answered on Sunday. After missing 6 games due to a foot injury, Winfield returned on Sunday and registered 9 tackles and a forced fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals.
All in a day’s work for #26.
It’s not as if the Vikings defense was relegated to chopped liver status without Winfield. While Winfield was out of the lineup, the Vikings defense allowed 18.6 points per game. With the Pro Bowl CB, the Vikings are allowing 16.6. But there’s no denying that Winfield’s presence gives the defense an added dimension.
“It goes without saying how much having Antoine (Winfield) back was,” Vikings QB Brett Favre said after the game. “I consider him one of the top five run defenders in all of football. Not just this year, because I’ve played against him.
Not only is he good against the pass, he’s as valuable to our run stop defense as Kevin (Williams) and Pat (Williams.) The guy’s outstanding. Having him back sure helps a lot.”
As for Winfield’s extended absence, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said it was important to make sure Winfield could give it 100% effort when he returned.
“We just wanted to make sure that he could pull the trigger and go the speed that he wanted and push off,” Childress explained. “He’s a collision football player. He’s never going to run up on the side of something, he’s going to directly hit them in the mouth. Those are the kind of things you miss from him.
“Those splash plays that happen on the edge when he approaches a sweep. Usually they are lost yardage plays. It has a tendency to elevate the rest of the defensive guys.”
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