One of the most significant subplots to Monday night’s Vikings-Packers game is the return of CB Antoine Winfield to the Vikings secondary. Winfield has missed the Vikings last 4 games – including the Week 7 showdown with Green Bay at Mall of America Field – with a neck injury, but has returned to practice this week and is on track to be in the starting lineup at Lambeau Field.
Winfield’s contribution to the Vikings defense goes beyond the traditional role of a CB. He slides inside on passing downs to play the opposing offense’s slot receiver, which requires as much mental aptitude as physical skill, and he’s also a premier run defender at CB. On top of that, Winfield simply has a nose for the ball. He is 2nd in franchise history with 5 return TDs and he ranks 6th among CBs in team history with 25 takeaways (in just 98 games).
Head Coach Leslie Frazier has spoken a couple of times this week about the impact Winfield makes on the Vikings defense. On Friday, Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac had his weekly meeting with reporters. Pagac, who doesn’t waste his breath with hyperbole, was quick to acknowledge the importance of Winfield’s return. He also gave Winfield quite the compliment.
“It’s big for us,” said Pagac, a 34-year coaching veteran. “He’s one of our best football players. He’s back to being healthy. It gives us some depth in the back end and we’re excited about being back.
“He’s one of the better football players that I’ve been around in my coaching career. He has instincts, he has savvy, he has toughness, he has quickness, he has power. He might be little, but he’ll sting you.”
For the Vikings to come out on the right side of Monday night’s game, the Vikings will need everything Winfield can has.
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Fred Pagac, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 110 Comments »