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  1. #1
    pigskinronin's Avatar
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    About the Vikings Corner Duo

    From the Star Tribune (going to bold an interesting point):

    Antoine Winfield always knew Fred Smoot could talk a good game. But it wasn't until the Vikings began preparing for their regular-season opener that Winfield realized a key reason his new teammate plays such a good game, too.

    "The first week of the season he comes back with his own game plan of Tampa Bay," Winfield said. "Their checks and everything, all from his studying. Like if [receiver] Joey Galloway is split as this, he's going to run these certain routes."

    Winfield was impressed.

    After playing three games with Smoot at the opposite cornerback position, he is ecstatic. The Smoot-Winfield combination -- arguably one of the top cornerback tandems in the NFL -- showed just how good it could be in Sunday's 33-16 victory against New Orleans.

    The Saints' top receiver, Joe Horn, was held to one catch.

    And that was one more reception than No. 2 receiver Donte Stallworth had. Smoot broke up four passes, and Winfield broke up one and had a fourth-quarter interception that set up a field goal.

    "I think we're getting really comfortable with each other," said Smoot, the starter on the right side. "I think you can see us starting to play a lot off each other because we are still learning each other. You're going to watch me and him grow really a lot during the course of this season."

    The success by Smoot and Winfield on Sunday came playing a majority of man-to-man coverage, something the Vikings had not used as much in the previous week's loss at Cincinnati. The cornerbacks both prefer man coverage and, considering the financial investment made in the two, they should be able to hold up just fine against the league's top receivers.

    Winfield, 28, left Buffalo after five seasons to sign a $35 million, six-year contract in March 2004 that included a $10.8 million signing bonus. A year later, Smoot bolted Washington after four years to accept a $34 million, six-year deal with the same signing bonus. Smoot, 26, admitted Winfield's presence on the Vikings roster was an important factor to him landing here.

    "I've always had another corner on the opposite side of me [who] is tops in the NFL," Smoot said. "From Champ Bailey to Shawn Springs and now Antoine. I love to keep a partner. I don't think you can have a strong defensive backfield with just one."

    Winfield started at cornerback along with Brian Williams last season, finishing with three interceptions in the regular season and adding another in the playoffs. Already he has noticed that having Smoot at the other corner has made a difference. "I'm going to see a lot more action," Winfield said. "Last year I think quarterbacks kind of shied away from me. But having Smoot over there, quarterbacks are going to stop throwing his way so that gives me more action."

    The presence of the two also provides defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell more freedom to blitz and give different looks to offenses without having to provide help for his cornerbacks. "It makes a coordinator's job much easier," Cottrell said. "You have two top cover corners who are getting tested time and time again."

    And every time they pass those tests, it gives players like veteran free safety Darren Sharper the ability to create havoc elsewhere. "It's unbelievable," Sharper said of playing with top-notch corners. "It really allows me to do things I want to do as far as being aggressive, making plays. To have that luxury of not having to worry about the cornerbacks and helping them out gives you the freedom."

    While Smoot and Winfield are both considered students of the game, they also are the Vikings' version of the odd couple. Smoot loves to talk on and off the field, giving an earful to opposing receivers and dishing out sound bites at every opportunity. Winfield is far more reserved, never seeking out the spotlight and remaining mostly quiet on the field.

    Smoot, though, claims his presence has caused Winfield to become a bit more vocal toward opponents. "I think so," Smoot said. "As long as you can back what you say up and it's genuine from the heart, they've got to either like it or hate it."

    But just like the increased action he is seeing because of Smoot, Winfield said any talking he is doing is also a result of his teammate's presence. "He likes to talk to the receivers so they talk back to him," Winfield said. "Then I guess when they come on my side, they think I'm just like him, so they start talking to me and it gets me in the game. It's all in fun. We're just out there competing."

  2. #2
    pigskinronin's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    Man-to-man coverage opens the defense up for a lot of blitz packages. As most of you predicted --- watch this defense get better and better as the season moves on.

  3. #3
    V4L's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    Yah I was glad we played more man to man coverage.. Ted got some blitzes in there and got Brooks flustered.. We gotta do that to Vick.. We should be able to play man to man on thier pathetic WR's no doubt

  4. #4
    pigskinronin's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    Blitzes and more men in the box to stop that potent running game. Would love to see Vick forced to pass to try and win the game. I like our odds if it comes down to Vick's arm.

  5. #5
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    Our defense has given up an average of 381 yards per game, there are only 4 teams worse then that in the NFL.

    The defense gives up 5.8 yards per play.

    Our defense has the MOST penalties in the entire NFL with 44. That equals out to be 298 yards worth of penalties.

    Surprisingly the time of possesion is dead smack in the middle of the league, nothing extreemly significant.

    I think they will get better with time though. I think this week will be a true sign of how good smoot and AW really are. Team has some big time injuries and a very dangerous offense is coming to town. It's going to be exciting.

  6. #6
    VKG4LFE's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    The D already has 44 penalties? Are you sure? Or does that include all the non-accepted penalties too? I though the Raiders led the league with 39 penalties or something. Maybe I'm just a moron though too!! lol

    I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!

  7. #7
    ShanePurpleBlood's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    Yes, as he did in NJ, Cottrell's D will start slow and finish strong!

    Another great sig by PPE!
    SKOL VIKINGS!!!
    Vikings #1
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    Hawkeyes #1
    Longhorns #2

  8. #8
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    According to NFL.com we have 44 penalties on defense that add up to 298 yards the worst in the NFL.

    It could be wrong.

  9. #9
    VKG4LFE's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    No I believe you and your site, but I guess I didn't think we had that many penalties. I was reading somewhere that the record for penalties in a season is held by the Raiders and it's 198 or something. So that's about 12 penalties a game. So right now, just our D alone averages 14.5 penalties a game, that just seems really high. I don't know, maybe I'm just high, oh wait that's vikez4lyfe!!! lol

    I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!

  10. #10
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: About the Vikings Corner Duo

    with this much skill at corner between the two, we should be playing alot of man to man so we can blitz from everywhere. the steelers are blitzburgh, mabye we can become the blitzings. might not work this week against vick, but instead of sending an extra man, we can always have a spy.
    We're bringing purple back.

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