Antoine Winfield is one of the best defenders in the league.
When he returned from a foot injury against the Bengals, he looked like he was back to being one of the best. The two games since, against the Panthers and Bears, have been highlighted by particularly bad play from the Vikings star corner, however.
“I’m out there playing so I’m capable of getting my job done,” he said after Monday’s game. “I’m just not doing it right now. I did miss eight weeks, but I’m never going to use that as an excuse.”
On Tuesday, Winfield appeared on KFAN with Paul Allen and was singing a slightly different tune.
Winfield admitted that he suffered another setback during the Bengals game.
“I don’t think it will be 100 percent until the offseason when I can rest it, but I’m going to keep fighting,” Winfield told Allen.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Winfield has experienced this frustrating type of season before. Both in 2007 and this year Winfield skipped offseason training with the Vikings for separate reasons. Both years, Winfield missed six games with injury and had trouble playing 60 minutes of football without experiencing dropoff later in games.
Now, I am not saying these events are related to each other, but professional athletes need to do everything in their power to show fans that they are one hundred percent committed to winning. Skipping OTAs is just something for hack bloggers to point at and say “is this a coincidence or would things be different if you trained with you team?”
Let’s hope that Winfield is wrong and that he gets up to 100% before the offseason. We need him if we’re going to finish this off in a way that involves our players getting some bling.
Perhaps the team should consider promoting Asher Allen and allowing Winfield to stick to the slot position.