COMMENTARY | They say that time heals all wounds, but in the case of professional athletes, it never hurts to add a little bit of financial incentive.
Winfield was coming off an extremely solid 2012 campaign for the Vikings, giving the team a veteran presence in the secondary and in the locker room. He was a solid tackler and capable of covering receivers in the slot better than anybody on the team. His absence has been extremely noticeable this year as the Minnesota pass defense has been horrible, surrendering 332.5 yards per game.
But rather than pay Winfield the $7.25 million that he was scheduled to make this year, the Vikings decided to release the veteran and the team has been paying for that error ever since. Had Jared Allen and the rest of the defensive line decided not to show up for Sunday's game with Pittsburgh -- a 34-27 win -- the Vikings could very well be 0-4, having blown three straight games due to their porous secondary.
Winfield signed with the Seattle Seahawks after the Vikings let him go, but he was one of the team's final roster cuts. He reportedly retired but has not filed retirement papers with the league in hopes of reviving his career. What better place to do so than in the city where he spent the past nine seasons?
The Vikings may have a bit of explaining to do to Winfield and make a serious effort to patch up any hard feelings that were created by his release, but there is no denying that he can help the team.
The Minnesota Vikings can spend the next two weeks celebrating their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers or they can look to get better and make a run at the playoffs. Other pieces fell into place against Pittsburgh -- improved quarterback play by Matt Cassel, the return of blocking fullback Jerome Felton led to a big game by Adrian Peterson, and there was improved play by both the offensive and defensive lines.
There is still that one glaring weakness in the secondary, and Winfield could help fix that with just a phone call and perhaps an apology. Whatever it takes, the Vikings could use Winfield for what he brings to the team both on and off the field.
Allen Moody is an author and sports bettor living in Nevada. A newspaper sports reporter for 12 years, he has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the 1970s.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
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- Antoine Winfield