Many Minnesota Vikings fans were stunned last March when the team released veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield. Although the move freed up $7.25 million in salary cap space, Winfield had been a defensive cornerstone with the Vikings since he signed with the team in 2004, and his release left a void in their secondary. Then in a strange series of events, Winfield signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks on April 17, but was released from the team on Aug. 31 and retired later that same day.
Although Winfield was said to have retired from the NFL, various sources have reported that Winfield has been working out at his home in Houston and wants to continue playing in the league. If Winfield is sincere about playing again, the Vikings should give him a call about coming back to the team. I’ve discussed the Vikings’ secondary situation extensively the last couple of weeks, and if Winfield is healthy and willing to play in Minnesota again, the team would be smart to sign him to a team-friendly contract. Winfield was easily the team’s best cornerback last season, and I find it hard to believe that he lost all of his ability in less than a year since he last played with the team in Green Bay.
Even if Winfield’s play has diminished, I would still rather have him on the field than unproven backups like A.J. Jefferson and Marcus Sherels. The only negative to signing Winfield is maybe the Seahawks saw the writing on the wall and he isn’t the player he once was, but at worst that makes him a mentor to the Vikings’ younger cornerbacks. What team couldn’t use a mentor to help a struggling aspect of their team?