Right now, they're built around running back Adrian Peterson and their strong, energetic defense. A huge piece of that defense is stalwart cornerback Antoine Winfield. About to enter the final year of his contract, Winfield has been working out on his own this offseason as he waits for the Vikings to work out a new deal for him. Still without a contract beyond this coming season, Winfield is speaking out on his frustration.
In an interview with Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Winfield talks openly about his desire for a new deal.
"If they want me here, they should be able to get a deal done. There shouldn't be a problem," Winfield said hours before boarding a cruise with his family this weekend. "If they don't, then they need to say that and let's work toward a resolution that works out good for everyone."Winfield also notes that he and his wife have thought about building a home in Houston, where they have been spending time this off-season. He told Jensen that part of his worries stem from watching Pro Bowl players Matt Birk and Darren Sharper leave the team this year after spending significant time as Vikings and playing out their contracts.
Asked if that meant requesting a trade, Winfield declined to comment.
... Winfield said his feelings stem from talks with key Viking coaches and executives.
Namely, he had two encouraging conversations over lunch with Vikings coach Brad Childress in April.
"He wanted things to get done," Winfield recalled. "He told me, 'You're one of my guys.' He said he doesn't do numbers, but he was going to fight for me."
While a contract extension for an over-30 defensive back (Winfield is 32) isn't necessarily common, it's not unprecedented. In the case of the Vikings and Winfield, some sort of arrangement would be a wise move. At this point, it seems somewhat unlikely that Winfield would return to Minnesota after hitting the open market, unless he has a miserable season or is bothered by injuries.
The Vikings have worked hard to improve their depth at the cornerback position, but they'd be making a mistake if they let a still-effective Winfield go. Even at 32, he stands to be their most consistent and physical cornerback this fall. He showed no signs of slowing down last year, and assuming he will hit a wall in the near future just because other cornerbacks have is a good way to lose a Pro Bowl player at a very important position.
(Pat on the butt: PFT)