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Analyzing Antoine Winfield’s Impact On Vikings Defense

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 12, 2011 – 6:35 am

Over the last several seasons we’ve seen the Vikings add plenty of big names to the roster, whether through free agency (Berrian, Hutchinson, Leber, Longwell) or the draft (Greenway, Harvin, Peterson, Rice) or even trades (Jared Allen). For some reason, though, Antoine Winfield seems to slide under the radar when we look at some of the best player acquisitions by the Vikings over the years.

Thanks to Sam Monson of the website www.profootballfocus.com, as pointed out by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, we can get an in-depth look at just how much of an impact Winfield has truly had for the Vikings defense. Pro Football Focus (PFF) of course anyone who has paid attention to the Vikings lately surely has seen how well Winfield has played. But you might not realize just how effective he’s been.

According to Monson’s study, Winfield may just have been the most complete CB in the NFL during the 2010 season. Winfield was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded CB in 2010, a ranking that takes into account coverage, play against the run, penalties and even blitzing. Monson says Winfield was “one of only a few players to grade positively across the board, in all areas of play” and Monson also points out that Winfield “led the league in cornerback stops (a tackle that constituted an offensive failure on the play) with 42, a ratio that betters plenty of linebackers.”

Here are a few other interesting nuggets from Monson’s analysis of Winfield:
– Winfield was not penalized in 2010, making him one of just two unpenalized CBs with 1,000 snaps.
– In a bit of unofficial analysis – it’s unofficial because the folks at PFF don’t know for certain on a play-to-play basis what coverage responsibilities are - Winfield did not allow a TD reception in 2010. Also, the longest completion against Winfield was 27 yards.
– In 32 blitzes, Winfield recorded 2.0 sacks, 7 pressures and 1 fumble return for a TD (against the Philadelphia Eagles).

To be fair, Monson is not asserting that Winfield is actually the best CB in the NFL or that he’s a dominant player in coverage. Rather, Monson is pointing out that Winfield A) was the best all-around CB in 2010, B) “will allow receptions, but he makes you work for yardage, and he doesn’t make it easy for an offense” and C) “was a demonstration of impressive and consistent play in every area.”


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