Monday, November 30, 2015

antoine winfield

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I know for a fact that the Vikings defense will feel the impact of Antoine Winfield’s absence, but I am not so sure that the move was really a game changer in terms of the Vikings draft plans, as the need for more quality cornerbacks is something the Vikings have struggled with since, well… forever.

Still, it couldn’t hurt to try and find someone of the same mold as Winfield, and Boise State’s Jamar Taylor seems like a natural fit for Rick Spielman to target in an effort to ease the loss of his veteran tackling corner.

Taylor (5′ 11″ and 192 pounds) played in every game as a freshman and registered 24 tackles, two for a loss, and a pick.  Then, for no other reason than Boise’s depth chart, Taylor redshirted as a sophomore before becoming a full time starter in 2010 and his ability to be a complete corner began to shine through.  That season he had 35 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, two sacks, two defended passes, and three forced fumbles.

Taylor was only able to start the first nine games of 2011 because of a leg fracture but he still managed 27 tackles, two for a loss, two picks, and six defended passes.  He was able to return for the Las Vegas Bowl where he scored on a 100 yard interception return.

After getting healthy, Taylor was able to enjoy his best season as a senior, which included starting every game, 51 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, nine defended passes, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.  His impressive senior season continued to Indianapolis where he was a Scouting Combine standout with a 4.39 forty time.

Despite not being the biggest corner in the world, Taylor plays every bit as physical as many corners that are three or four inches taller than him, and has a reputation for being a “fighter” at the position in regards to his style of play.  He has the technique and strength to press wideouts at the line of scrimmage and the recovery speed to mask any mistakes.  He shows all the fluidity you want to see in his backpedal and hip turn, and is capable of disrupting passes with a well timed high point.

Taylor isn’t as proficient of a tackler as Winfield is, but he is no slouch either.  He plays the run very well, which is important to the Vikings, and is well disciplined in run support assignments.

Taylor is not flawless.  He needs to show more discipline in coverage, he needs to improve his tackling technique, and the guy looks like Jamarca Sanford when trying to haul in an easy interception (that isn’t a good thing) but he makes up for a lot of his shortcomings by playing football in a fearless and competitive way.

When it comes down to it, despite not being one of the highest touted prospects in this class, I view Taylor as a top-25 prospect and wouldn’t be at all disappointed if he were one of the Vikings selections in the first round.  He shouldn’t be expected, if selected, to fully fill Winfield’s void but adding a guy like this would certainly be a good start. reports that veteran Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield has signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

“It was a very tough decision for me because of the relationships that I have in Minnesota,” Winfield told Anderson. “I’ve been there nine years. I’ve had some really great coaches, teammates and fans there. I’m very grateful to the Vikings organization for my experience.

“I’m definitely excited about the opportunity to play in Seattle. They’re a great football team. Those guys did an excellent job last season. They’re young, athletic and energetic. I’m excited to play with Richard (Sherman), Brandon (Browner), Kam (Chancellor) and Earl (Thomas) because they’re some of the most talented players on defense in the NFL right now.”

Winfield was released last month suddenly by the Vikings and thus was an unrestricted free agent. The initial report is that the two parties agreed to a one-year deal. The details of the contract are not known at this time.

The Seahawks, who already boasted arguably the NFL’s best secondary, will likely utilize Antoine Winfield in nickel situations.

The loss of Antoine Winfield leaves the Vikings depth chart at cornerback with Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, A.J. Jefferson, Marcus Sherels and Brandon Burton. While middle linebacker likely still remains the number one priority for the Vikings less than two-weeks before the 2013 NFL Draft, cornerback is now definitely a very, very close second.

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According to’s Ian Rapoport, veteran cornerback and expert tackler Antoine Winfield is now deciding between the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings.

Reports that surfaced earlier today suggested that he may be closer to signing with Seahawks than resigning with the Vikings. Those reports may have been premature as now it looks like Winfield is somewhere in the middle of the two.

Winfield was abruptly released early March – a move that caught the experienced cornerback, his teammates, Vikings personnel and fans all off guard.

The Seahawks (also  known as the Vikings of the West) look to reunite Winfield with ex-Vikings Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.

Antoine Winfield is expected to make a decision soon.

Edit: Found a pretty interesting story about the last time Winfield was a free agent and stuck between two teams from John Holler over at Never heard this story before – fun read. (Here’s to hoping for a similar outcome!)


You know the drill, here is the best of the best:

Despite being on vacation, 1500 ESPN writer Tom Pelissero is still scooping everyone else.

Pelissero reports that former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield is scheduled to meet with the Seattle Seahawks, where all former Vikings seem to end up, on Wednesday.  Winfield has also been on vacation, which has played a part in the delay of him signing with any team.  Winfield previously met with the Washington Redskins’ brass, but no deal was reached and the have since re-signed DeAngelo Hall.

Winfield was surprisingly released by the Vikings do to a salary that exceeded $7 million, but even at age 35 can provide an NFL team with great veteran leadership and some of the best overall play at his position.

The Vikings have reportedly maintained contact with Winfield’s representatives and a return to Minnesota is not totally out of the question.

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