The Vikings and Carolina Panthers met last year in a Week 3 showdown in Minnesota, a game the Vikings won by a score of 20-10.
In that game, CB Antoine Winfield pulled off an accomplishment that only 2 other players in Vikings history can claim. He recorded 4 different statistics in the same play.
The play happened late in the 1st half with the Vikings trailing 10-3 and negative thoughts of an 0-3 start to the season creeping in. Winfield, in a matter of seconds, turned the game around and perhaps steered the Vikings ship in the right direction.
With Carolina facing a 3rd and 8 from their own 29, QB Jake Delhomme dropped back to pass. Winfield rushed the pocket, sacked Delhomme, stripped the ball from him, recovered the fumble and returned it 19 yards for a TD to eliminate the Panthers lead. That’s 4 statistics – sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, TD – in 1 play.
When asked about that play while meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Winfield remembered it vividly and said he thinks it was one of the plays that propelled him to his 1st career Pro Bowl berth. The other play happened 2 weeks later in New Orleans, when #26 returned a blocked FG 59 yards for a TD on Monday Night Football.
Because of the impact those plays had for the Vikings and because of the high-profile nature of the blocked FG return on Monday Night Football, Winfield is probably correct in asserting that those plays were key to his 1st Pro Bowl appearance.
Although the Vikings are playing Carolina this weekend, Winfield’s mind is not focused on making another splash play so he can begin accumulating Pro Bowl votes again.
“I’m really not even thinking about the Pro Bowl,” Winfield acknowledged. “I’ve missed so much time. If I make it, that’s great. If I don’t, I won’t be too sad.
“The only thing I’m thinking about is getting to the playoffs, getting to the Super Bowl and winning it. Right now my focus is on Carolina and going out there and having a great performance.”
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 3 Comments »