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Winfield Release Did Not Sit Well With Some Vikings Officials

We have already established with pretty good detail that Rick Spielman’s decision to release veteran cornerback, and locker room leader, Antoine Winfield was not a popular one when it came to the fan base.

As it turns out, according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rappaport, the move did not sit well with some “Vikings people” within Winter Park either.

One person told Rappaport that “It’s a move backwards” and he says some “aren’t thrilled” with Spielman’s decision.

I feel like I’ve already beat this topic to death, but I would still like to note that as of Thursday afternoon right tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Andre Smith remain unsigned, which is significant because the decision to break their budget for Phil Loadholt was cited as a reason for Winfield’s abrupt departure.  In fact, other decent offensive tackles are currently available such as Jake Long and Eric Winston, not to mention the many options available in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Rick Spielman has a reputation in Minnesota for letting the market establish itself before making hasty, big-money decisions so it was surprising to see him cave to Loadholt’s demands even if the player was threatening to join the division rival Chicago Bears.

However, recent events are making me wonder if Spielman isn’t overvaluing the players he has had a hand in bringing to Minnesota.  The most recent evidence of this is that the Vikings quickly snatched receiver Jerome Simpson to a one year deal worth $2.1 million.  Not only is that a raise from his 2012 salary of $2 million, but Spielman gave Simpson a $500,000 signing bonus, and a $250,000 workout bonus, according to 1500 ESPN.  The Vikings are betting on Simpson staying healthy (he did pass his physical) and producing far more significantly than he did last season.

Simpson’s pay day comes despite the fact that he never produced more than 50 receiving yards in any game last season and has caught the same amount of touchdown passes from Christian Ponder as I have:  zero.

It is not a huge surprise that fans aren’t a fan of Rick Spielman’s approach to free agency, as he is usually going to shy away from the splashy instant gratification moves that fans love to see, but his decision to cut Winfield is putting everything else he does under a microscope and doing the math to see just why exactly his plan had to involve that questionable decision.

And, according to Rappaport’s report, some within Winter Park are looking pretty closely themselves.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Interesting take on him valuing his own guys more. I don’t know how they can justify that Simpson contract, I don’t care that he passed the physical, the $500K signing bonus is ludicrous. What if he shows up in camp and has some other mysterious injury that slows him down? The only other thing I can think of is they are trying to make Ponder happy, he wanted Simpson back so maybe that factored in. I can understand why they gave Loadholt more money than they wanted too. He’s the best run blocker out of the guys that are available and has prooved more durable as well, so they can make a good argument that he was the best RT on the market…atleast for what they want the RT to do in our offense. It would be nice to get Winfield’s perspective of his release. I don’t believe we have actually heard him tell it in his own words, just reports from his agent that it was a brief cold meeting, which if true, is obviously a crap move on Spielman’s part.

  2. There’s no easy way to fire some dude. You’re old pal has had the unpleasant experience of having to do it a number of times. After the person understands they are being let go, there is no way to say anything that holds great value to them. In fact, most people don’t hear anything good that is being said after they hear they are being let go.

    Granted, some are better than others at delivering news, but finding out the organization is moving on without you is painful. The employee being let go simply wants to leave after he finds out he’s been let go, he doesn’t want to hear how grateful the organization is or have cake or get a gold watch. He wants to yell “screw you” Ricky!

    Most termination meetings are short, cold and not so sweet.

  3. I actually am on board with every move made so far. The approach does suck but it’s the way you win in the nfl. Winfield wasn’t worth 7 million a year as a slot corner no matter how good he was, he will still be 36 next year and to think he will be as good next year is silly. Also we resigned all of our own players and in my opinion only over paid for loadhoalt, but not drastically. And Jerome is only on a 1 year contract and still young their is no reason to think its impossible he doesn’t stay healthy and put up strong numbers. In my opinion how we haven’t asked Allen and Williams to take a payout with thier 14 million and 7 million a year is the bigger issue

    1. It just wasn’t a classy way of doing it. If your going to release a veteran player that’s been on the club for 9 years and is a team leader, you don’t just call him into your office on the first day of free agency and ax him. I look at how Atlanta handled Abraham as the example of class. They told him 24 hours before anyone else knew about it and let him go well before the free agency period started. They showed him the respect he deserved and if anyone watched his interview on NFLN, you could tell he appreciated it. The guy looked like someone just killed his dog, but he appreciated the way they did it. That’s what Antoine deserved. In many cases it doesn’t happen but I expect more out of the Vikes, especially with this regime.

  4. Ya, like pro football is a classy business!
    9 billion annual profit and tax payers are building the new stadiums.

    Winfield is 36, with a limited work load and a 7.5 million salary. This is not a major shock wave… people were talking about this move last year. The Vikings let his agent know at the combine his salary was too high.

    All I am hearing from people is that the Vikings didn’t make a restructure offer… I am NOT hearing from the Winfield camp that he is even interested in doing that with the Vikings.

    1. Winfield himself said that the Vikes did not ask him to restructure…that’s why people are saying that. Antoine was is all class. He was also the best CB on the team. It was a stupid move by Spielman. His workload was still pretty big…I bet if you check out his snap count it would more than any corner on the team.
      It was a stupid move, and a shit way to treat a player and man like Antoine Winfield. I would like to punch Spielman in the neck!

  5. Yes, it could have been handled better… but Spielman has publicly said the door is open for Winfield to return.
    Why hasn’t any of the media asked Winfield if he wants to walk through it?????????