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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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30 Responses to “Analyzing Antoine Winfield’s Impact On Vikings Defense”

  1. By Frederick Jones on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    There was a wily veteran by the name of Paul Krause who made the Hall of Fame as a Safety, and he also has the record for interceptions in a career.

    Yet Krause was a liability on running plays. My friends and I used to say that he tried to “slide in for the tackle,” in his last few years.

    Krause played too long.

    That’s what I worry about with Winfield. One of his injuries definitely caused him to lose running speed. I think I saw him behind more than one wide receiver this past season. Was that receiver his responsibility? Only the coaches know for sure.

    I hope we don’t start call him Antoine “burn me deep” Winfield.

  2. By Frederick Jones on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    Winfield will be just 34 this season, with hard work he could regain that old speed that he used to have as a youngster.

    Besides if we are relying on a CB to stop the run, we are already in trouble.

    Remember the days of Joey Browner, who was the last line of defense until the Vikings cut him. I think he may have actually led the Vikings in tackles one year. If a defensive back leads the team in tackles, there is something wrong with that defense.

  3. By CA Norwegian on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    I mourned Winfield’s absence during his injury rehab. Two things stand out in his comeback game against The Benglas on D. Winfield torpedoing through a larger blocker and creating a fumble/turnover with helmet smart bomb accuracy. And Pat Williams dropping Cederic, with one arm, best described as equestrian meets tree branch and locates the ground. I look forward to both these clips in a HOF visit one day. Winfield’s still good, and will hand out more burns than he will recieve. He plays like an extra linebacker out there. That play is a difference maker.

  4. By Andy on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    In my opinion Winfield has been the Most Valuable Viking since he was signed. The guy just does not make mistakes and is BAR NONE the best tackling corner in the NFL. He is like having another LB on the field that can cover the top receivers in the game. He is the epitome of how to tackle at the NFL level, the best form and arrives with explosion. Could you imagine if the Vikings had another Winfield to lock down the other side? I believe Winfield has another 3-5 SOLID years left. He is a true professional and the best “pound for pound” defender in NFL history!

  5. By Ekolu on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    So with Freddie Pagac as D Coord they plan to blitz more often, and Winfield had a great game vs the Eagles when they were aggressive. Winfield plays like a cover safety, because he has a nose for the ball carrier and is a sensational tackler, one of the best pound for pound of all-time. Looks like he had a great cover year, yet he was the nickel back on passing downs. Thats all the Vikes need him to do because they should be getting both Cedic Griffin and Chris Cook back healthy and remember we got Asher Allen early out of college so this could be his year. There are a few corner FA’s who the Vikes could target as well, but its the Safety position that needs improvement the most.

  6. By Carl B on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    I agree Winfield is the best all around CB in the league but i dont know if he has 3-5 years left. I think if he ever hung it up though the vikings should hire him on as there DB coach I think it’s also good they drafted B.Burton he could learn alot from Winfield as could Cook,A.Allen. I also think bringing in another veteran would help.

  7. By Woodboat on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    Whoa, slow down, Andy! :) Winfield is a good player, and definately the best we have, but I’d trade him for a cover guy in the blink of an eye. He is not a great cover corner. He does well for the VIkes in that capacity because the other corners are so far off their receivers, the QB can’t pass up the easy pass.

    He tackles like nobodies business, and I love to watch him play. You think he is still going to be a top notch CB at 39? Pffft….

  8. By paul on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    Antoine ‘s been very very good for us.

  9. By Parody on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    One of my favorite memories about Winfield was from the home game when he returned from that long injury. I was really getting impatient to see him back on the field because the initial report was that he would be sidelined for one or two games, tops.

    So finally, I’m at the dome late in the season and am thrilled to see Winfield walk onto the field. Then early on in the game he went after an interception, got both hands on it but couldn’t bring it in. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. Then Antoine dropped to the ground right where he was at and started doing pushups! That was a big crowd pleaser, and I think it helped motivated the entire team to work harder, with the end result being a 30-10 victory over the Bengals.

    One other aspect of that game that I loved was how Ochocinco was talking all week before the game that he’d steal Ragnar’s horn after he scored a touchdown, then chickened out and just snuck back to his sideline when it happened late in the 2nd quarter. He really didn’t show up at all in that game, having only 3 catches for a total of 27 yards.

  10. By VikingsFanSince98' on Jul 12, 2011 | Reply

    why dont we move Winfeild to strong safety to prolong his career few more years and partly solve our safety problem

  11. By jv3rnon on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Yes Winfield great corner for us but, he needs help. I would pursue Nnamdi as corner and Landry from the Ravens and let Tyrell Johnson play the other safety.

  12. By Mike Wobschall on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Not a good idea to move Antoine to safety now because is so good playing CB, specifically playing CB in the slot. Also the Vikings can blitz Winfield from the slot (or from the corner). I don’t see him moving to safety anytime soon. In fact, there are 2 CBs on the Vikings roster right now who look like better fits at safety than Antoine.

  13. By PuRpLe 'n GoLd on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    If we move Winfield to saftey…who will take care of our corners?

  14. By PuRpLe 'n GoLd on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    He carries the load for our defense sometimes and i think he should stay at a position he was ment for

  15. By Frederick Jones on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    in addition at 180 pounds he is too small to do all the things
    safeties are required to do every game. It would certainly not
    lengthen his career.

  16. By joshK on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    love em, glad to see an article about him, keep it up Antoine

  17. By jv3rnon on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    Go and get Nanamdi from Oakland and Landry from Balitmore. Then the starters can be Nnamdi and Griffin at corners and Winfield and Landry at Safety. then when oposing team goes 4/5 wide ull have Johnson,Willams,Allen, and Cook. We need something like that because Rodgers and Cutler picks us apart to much. That’s mine main concern is pass defense and o-line

  18. By Carl K on Jul 13, 2011 | Reply

    jv3rnon – I am high on Dawan Landry from Baltimore also. He is a fifth round draft pick that has made a quick transition to the NFL and has become a star. Landry also over came a serious spinal injury in 2008. I like him but I don’t think the Viking will go after 2 DB in free agency after drafting 2 DB. I think the Vikings have cap room right now to be a major player in free agency… but the bad news is the Vikings will need to leave room for Greenway, AP, Shiancoe, Harvin, Rice and others. They all want new long term big money contracts.

    I would be very happy just to land Nanamdi. Nanamdi and Landry would be too good to be true. Too much! Keep wishing for it! I like it!

    If we move any of our corners to safety (which I think is a good idea) I think it will be Chris Cook. Cook has major upside and potential at strong safety. Also Abdullah out played T. Johnson last year and the Vikings gave Adhullah a second round tender… so I would say it is a good bet Abdullah is our starting free safety this year.

  19. By Ted Brown 23 on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    Antoine Winfield is one of the best free agents in team history. Pound for pound a solid player, love ya mighty mouse!!!!!!!

  20. By Andy on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    When I say Winfield has 3-5 years, this is only if he moves to safety after a couple years. And for the people that think he is not great at covering and does not get a lot of INT’s? That is because the QB rarely throws in his direction because his man is always covered. The only time I ever saw Winfield play bad was when he was playing with the foot injury. He could not run and it showed… When healthy, he is a top CB. Oh ya, and by the way, in the NFL the CB is supposed to support the LOS on running plays and the reason he gets a lot of tackles is because he is THAT GOOD.

  21. By josh on Jul 14, 2011 | Reply

    @Andy
    Why would moving Winfield to safety prolong his career? The oldest active safety in the NFL is Brian Dawkins at 37. Winfield is 34 right now.
    Darrell Green was the oldest corner ever to start an NFL game – and he did it at age 40. Converting Winfield to safety has no value for the Vikings or Winfield at this point in his career. We need him at corner.

  22. By jv3rnon on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    I say you keep Winfield at corner and go and get Brent Grimes from Atlanta. Two satr corners and Tyrell Johnson and Adhullah play safeties. Also, when oposing team spreads it out you still have Chris cook and Cedric Griffin

  23. By Woodboat on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    @Andy… I’ll go so far as to say that Winfields man is the MOST covered, covered being a relative term. Relative to how far off the other DBs play from their assigned WR, he’s stuck to his like glue. He is NOT a great cover corner… he doesn’t defense the ball very often. Now, his WR doesn’t usually get many yards after the catch, I grant you that. But the reception is still made, moving the chains.

  24. By Woodboat on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah, lets get Nnamdi and Landry… hey P Manning doesn’t have a contract yet, lets get him, too. They’ll play for what room we have under the new cap, I’m certain, just for the honor of playing for the Vikes! :) …or, they won’t. Sarcasm aside, I’ll be surprised if the Vikes are willing and able to land any of the front line FAs out there. I think we have a real shot of taking 4th in our division… not because we are that bad, but I think the rest of the division is improving faster than we are. New coachs, new QB, no training camp to speak of… I wouldn’t expect much this year, folks. I’m looking forward to watching the development of our young QBs and hoping for 9-7. Reasonable expectations are going to be necessary this year…

  25. By sandiamond on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    Mike please light up the blog with feree-agent talk next week if the CBA ends!

  26. By sandiamond on Jul 16, 2011 | Reply

    free agents, rookies, etc. Rumour has Thursday as the deal finally

  27. By scott RI on Jul 17, 2011 | Reply

    PICKING UP A GOOD C.B.,S.,&Q.B.WOULD BE GREAT NOT TO MENTION A W.R.IF THEY LOOSE SIDNEY RICE . ANTWOINE WINFEILD AT THE 2 WOULD BE FILTHY .

  28. By jv3rnon on Jul 19, 2011 | Reply

    I say get a Center,RT,Moss,McNabb,and Grimes

  29. By Garrett on Jul 22, 2011 | Reply

    I just want the vikings to make me proud to be a vikings fan. aggressive play and a solid team. we dont need stars just teamwork…and some serious tackling

  30. By mojo on Jul 22, 2011 | Reply

    who you kigging garret teamwork my ass we need a soild qb and a good running game

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