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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    [size=13pt]Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings[/size]

    By Eric Krupka on October 3, 2006 12:23 AM

    Through four games this year the Minnesota Vikings ' defense has been tremendous, holding opposing offenses to just 16.2 points per game. The unit also finds itself ranked 10th in the NFL in total defense. While defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin will defer credit for the success to his players, he deserves plenty.

    Without the vast improvement in scheme, positioning and overall play by the defense, the Vikings would be in plenty of trouble. There is no way the team would be 2-2. Although it has only been four games, so far the defense has shaved five points off the opponents' average (allowed 21.5 per game last year), and rose 11 spots in total defense (finished 21st last season).

    Aside from Tomlin's teachings, there is one player that has truly stood out in helping the defense take the next step from being mediocre to elite - cornerback Antoine Winfield.

    Three years ago the Vikings signed the feisty corner away from the Buffalo Bills , and he has been a mainstay in the secondary and on opponents ever since. Despite the fact that Winfield is only 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, he hits as hard as any corner in the league and as hard as some linebackers.

    It isn't just the big-hit ability that makes the Vikings' cornerback stand out. Winfield's ability to wrap up and tackle fundamentally and take on players that are much bigger than him are unmatched by most. And even though he isn't considered a cover corner, he uses his intelligence, good positioning and angling well to allow himself to be an above-average cover corner.

    In Sunday's loss against the Bills, the defense turned in another sterling performance, and again, just like last week, Winfield led all tacklers in double digits, this time with 11 stops.

    If you could find any weaknesses in the defense's Week 4 performance, it would be some unnecessary penalties, and some missed tackles.

    "We didn't make the plays that we needed to make. I think there were a few second- and third-and-longs that they converted on us. A lot of missed tackles," Winfield said after the game.

    The biggest compliment someone can give Winfield may be that he is a sure tackler. So when he says the defense had "a lot of missed tackles," it's time for his teammates to listen up. Because if anyone knows about tackling, it's Winfield.

    "That's been my game since I've played when I was 8 years old. I don't care who's running the ball. If you got it, I'm trying to get you down," said Winfield.

    The Ohio State alumnus is on pace for a career-high 140 tackles, an unbelievable number for a defensive back. He is currently fourth in the NFL in solo tackles with 29, and tied for ninth in total takedowns with 35.

    For years you've seen baseball's version--the Tom Emanski Defensive Drills Video endorsed by Fred McGriff in a goofy hat.

    Pretty soon, you may see a football version entitled "The Antoine Winfield Defensive Drills Video," because when it comes to the art of tackling, few can match his prowess. Maybe he'll even sport an ugly-looking hat.

    Fullback Tony Richardson, when asked about Winfield, said, "He's not afraid to go in there and stick it in there with the big boys. You like that. I got here, and I was like, 'Man, I'm glad this guy is on my team.' He's fierce. He's relentless. He's making plays. He's all over the place."

    -Eric Krupka is a senior writer for RealFootball365.com. He responds to readers email daily. You can contact him at [email protected]

    -Tackle opponents like Antoine Winfield at RealFootball365.com


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  2. #2
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    "singersp" wrote:
    Winfield is under-appreciated by Vikings fans, but the things he is doing in the run defense right now are amazing to me.
    At 5'9", he's fighting off blockers, forcing the outside runs back in and flying into the backfield.
    PLUS he's out there on the kick-off team while certain other highly-paid cornerbacks are sitting on the bench because they aren't trusted to bring the returner down.

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  3. #3
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    He may be under appreciated by the fans but the front office loves him and you can see that by his bank account.

    The scary thing is, if we rank 10th in defense with our loose zone and with being the second most penalized defense in all of football just think what we could/will be at when the mistakes get fixed.

    I am still not convinced of the quality of the D. I want to see them stop Brady, Hasselbech. I think if the zone and coverage is what it has been we are going to get routed.


  4. #4
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    "Del" wrote:
    He may be under appreciated by the fans but the front office loves him and you can see that by his bank account.

    The scary thing is, if we rank 10th in defense with our loose zone and with being the second most penalized defense in all of football just think what we could/will be at when the mistakes get fixed.

    I am still not convinced of the quality of the D. I want to see them stop Brady, Hasselbech. I think if the zone and coverage is what it has been we are going to get routed.
    Delhomme and Grossman (I now am a believer in Rex's skeels) are both top10 QBs in this league and the Vikes shut them down pretty good when we played them.

    Yes, Delhomme was w/out Steve Smith and Yes, Grossman did victimize the secondary in the end (after they were handed a short field on a silver platter).


    Is there room for improvement?
    Unless you're the '85 Bears, there's always room for improvement with your D.
    But am I satisfied with how they are playing?
    Heck yes.
    They were on the field for TWELVE more minutes on Sunday and still only gave up 17 points.
    That is a stellar effort on the road.

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  5. #5
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    "AWZeus" wrote:
    "Del" wrote:
    He may be under appreciated by the fans but the front office loves him and you can see that by his bank account.

    The scary thing is, if we rank 10th in defense with our loose zone and with being the second most penalized defense in all of football just think what we could/will be at when the mistakes get fixed.

    I am still not convinced of the quality of the D. I want to see them stop Brady, Hasselbech. I think if the zone and coverage is what it has been we are going to get routed.
    Delhomme and Grossman (I now am a believer in Rex's skeels) are both top10 QBs in this league and the Vikes shut them down pretty good when we played them.

    Yes, Delhomme was w/out Steve Smith and Yes, Grossman did victimize the secondary in the end (after they were handed a short field on a silver platter).


    Is there room for improvement?
    Unless you're the '85 Bears, there's always room for improvement with your D.
    But am I satisfied with how they are playing?
    Heck yes.
    They were on the field for TWELVE more minutes on Sunday and still only gave up 17 points.
    That is a stellar effort on the road.

    =Z=
    They are two different types of QB though. Tom Brady will pick apart our zone. Grossman chokes 1,2,3,4,5, passes then boom 30 yarder. I am interested to see Tom Brady work against our LB's. It will be more of a test against our zone.

    Hell this week against the lions will be a test of our D they are a top 7 passing team. 250+ yards by air a game. They also have given up 14 sacks this year. So if our line and backers can't get to Kitna and get 2,3,4 sacks then that will say alot about this defense imo. Every week they have to improve and proove they can hang.

  6. #6
    Zeus's Avatar
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    "Del" wrote:
    They are two different types of QB though. Tom Brady will pick apart our zone. Grossman chokes 1,2,3,4,5, passes then boom 30 yarder. I am interested to see Tom Brady work against our LB's. It will be more of a test against our zone.

    Hell this week against the lions will be a test of our D they are a top 7 passing team. 250+ yards by air a game. They also have given up 14 sacks this year. So if our line and backers can't get to Kitna and get 2,3,4 sacks then that will say alot about this defense imo. Every week they have to improve and proove they can hang.
    I think Brady is the best QB in the league, with all due respect to Carson Palmer.
    He hasn't had the STUD WR at any point in his career - yet he's won 3 Super Bowls.
    That's going to be an amazing evening at the Dome, for sure.

    I wonder which Lions team is going to show up.
    The one which fought the Seahawks tooth-and-nail in the opener, the one which went belly-up to the Bears or the one which got into a shoot-out with the Rams?

    =Z=

    Thanks to Josdin for the awesome sig!

  7. #7
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    "AWZeus" wrote:
    "Del" wrote:
    They are two different types of QB though. Tom Brady will pick apart our zone. Grossman chokes 1,2,3,4,5, passes then boom 30 yarder. I am interested to see Tom Brady work against our LB's. It will be more of a test against our zone.

    Hell this week against the lions will be a test of our D they are a top 7 passing team. 250+ yards by air a game. They also have given up 14 sacks this year. So if our line and backers can't get to Kitna and get 2,3,4 sacks then that will say alot about this defense imo. Every week they have to improve and proove they can hang.
    I think Brady is the best QB in the league, with all due respect to Carson Palmer.
    He hasn't had the STUD WR at any point in his career - yet he's won 3 Super Bowls.
    That's going to be an amazing evening at the Dome, for sure.

    I wonder which Lions team is going to show up.
    The one which fought the Seahawks tooth-and-nail in the opener, the one which went belly-up to the Bears or the one which got into a shoot-out with the Rams?

    =Z=
    Hopefully the one that drops trow bends over while the vikings have their way with them and leave after we win without saying goodbye.

  8. #8
    Einar's Avatar
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    I saw Winfield play in high school and probably every game he played at Ohio State.
    He has always been a stud at defending against the run and for his size he can cover well also.
    He is and always has been one who leads by example on thefield.

    Skol Winfield!
    I was brain-washed as a child into becoming a Viking fan in Ohio of all places.

  9. #9
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    His short stature has cost him 2 INT"s the last 2 games against Chicago and Buffalo, both were balls he had to jump for and barely got his hands on and couldn't hold onto the pass for the INT's.

    Winfield is one of my favorite players, but those two missed INT's have cost us in both games.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  10. #10
    minvikes01's Avatar
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    Re: Undersized Winfield stands tall for Vikings

    at least he doesn't miss takles like fred smoot.
    Peerless Price wouldn't have scored if antione winfield was going to the takle in the backfield

    Thanks to PPE for the awesome Sig.

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