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  1. #1
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    A-Win Article From Vikings.com

    Nice little read...http://vikings.com/news_detail_OBJECTNAME_WinfieldFeature81605.html

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
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    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  2. #2
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    Re: A-Win Article From Vikings.com

    Author: Mike Wobschall


    With all of the new faces on the defensive side of the ball this season for the Vikings there are still a few familiar faces. One of those is defensive back Antoine Winfield, who is trying to change the attitude of an improving defense.

    The Vikings most highly sought after free agent in recent memory signed with the Vikings in March of 2004 after spending 5 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In Buffalo he played under current Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and alongside current Vikings defensive back Ken Irvin. With other players such as Pat Williams and Sam Cowart having played in Buffalo as well, there is a little bit of a parallel among a few of the players. That parallel is one aspect of this year's defense that the Vikings are hoping will help them change the attitude.

    "It definitely helps," Winfield said. "We know each other and we're all professionals, we know what we've got to get done. Plus the addition of Pat helps Kevin Williams out. That will take a lot of double teams off of him and that will free Kevin up and he can make a lot more plays for us. Pat is still hungry."

    With as many veterans as the Vikings have brought in this season, one challenge at the beginning of camp was to get everyone on the same page, learning the same system. Although all skilled, the free agents that were brought in come from a wide range of teams. Being that Winfield was a staple on last year's squad and is becoming a leader of the defensive unit in Minnesota, he naturally becomes the catalyst for a defense stacked with talent.

    "Darren Sharper has been in a system for eight years, (Fred) Smoot was in a system in Washington. So you start to get familiar and accustomed to your own system," defensive back Ken Irvin said. "And now with free agency and everything going on it's good to have guys like myself, Antoine and Cory Chavous to help speed the process of meshing together along," Irvin added.

    The additions to the Vikings defense were spread out to all parts of the unit. Pat Williams will help anchor a talented defensive line that features three perennial all-pros and a first round draft pick in Erasmus James, who earned all-America honors last year at Wisconsin. At linebacker, the Vikings added crafty veteran Sam Cowart through free-agency and the athletic and versatile Napolean Harris via the Randy Moss trade. In the secondary Winfield and Chavous are joined by prize free-agent Fred Smoot and a long time nemesis and big-time playmaker from Green Bay in Darren Sharper.

    "The positive is the depth. I think that hurt us a little bit last year. The addition of Sharper and Smoot helps us, and with Brian Williams starting last year and now he's moved to nickel back, that gives us a good third corner. Up front adding Pat Williams, and then Sam Cowart at linebacker, guys with a lot of good experience, it's exciting," Winfield said of all the new talent.

    On paper the Vikings have most definitely upgraded. But as head coach Mike Tice has reiterated numerous times in camp, you don't win games on paper. But with the addition of more run-stuffers, pass rushers, and play makers, what will be the result?

    "A lot of everything. Especially more three and outs," Winfield commented. "I think that hurt us a lot last year. Teams had a lot of long drives ending in touchdowns. We'll get our offense the ball quicker and we can score more points."

    The Vikings ranked 29th in the league last year in sacks and interceptions. In 2005 the Vikings are hoping the defensive line and the secondary will feed off of each other. An improved pass rush will force opposing quarterbacks to throw sooner and improved coverage will force quarterbacks to hold on to the ball longer.

    "It goes hand in hand, the pass rush will get a lot more sacks because of coverage and we will have a few more interceptions because of the pass rush," Winfield said.

    Training camp has provided an opportunity for the defensive unit to begin to work together and figure each other out. Watching practices during the beginning days of camp and then watching practice recently, one can see the improvements that have been made. The Vikings defense has shown the ability to consistently stall the offense during intra-squad and passing scrimmages.

    "It's an upgrade for our defense. They brought the guys in here for a reason and we're starting to jell together right now," Irvin said. "But we haven't played any games yet, so for right now it's just an addition. Once you get to playing games and working off one another, then you get that chemistry and camaraderie and that's when you start to excel."

    Winfield clearly became a leader on the field for the Vikings last year. He gave the Vikings an immediate boost in the secondary, leading the team in interceptions and raising the energy of the entire defensive unit with his aggressive style of play. Winfield was fourth on the team in tackles and led the team in tackles during the playoffs with 22. Winfield even led the team in special teams tackles, recording 18 tackles.

    "He's just a quite little guy who has a fierce heart who is a great tackler and always makes plays. He makes great plays and is becoming our team leader the more he is on the field," Irvin said of his teammate.

    2005 could be a season where the Vikings show a vast improvement on the defensive side of the ball. This season's unit features a plethora of talent and experience, a good combination in the NFL. Vikings fans have a lot to look forward to in 2005 thanks to the new faces on defense, and some familiar faces too.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  3. #3
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    Re: A-Win Article From Vikings.com

    finally somthing good from vikings.com

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