Vikings Fans Fall in Love with One Free Agent

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Minnesota Vikings fans have clamored for this man before, four years ago during the 2020 NFL Draft.

Now, they’re back in a familiar spot, wanting Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. to join the purple team.

Vikings Fans Fall in Love with One Free Agent

The son of a former Viking, Antoine Winfield Sr., the Winfield Jr. could hit open free agency if Tampa Bay doesn’t extend or franchise-tag the 25-year-old. That verdict from the Buccaneers will be rendered in the next six weeks.

Fans Fall in Love
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Outwardly, the Vikings don’t need another safety — Harrison Smith, Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum, Jay Ward, and Lewis Cine are under contract in 2024. However, Smith, a Vikings legend, could retire or be released this offseason, so the working theory from Vikings faithful is that Winfield should swoop in for the Smith afterlife.

Winfield Jr. was considered the NFL’s second-best safety in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, trailing Jesse Bates by 0.1 per PFF’s grading system. When he didn’t receive Pro Bowl attention earlier this month, the father Winfield actually protested quite loudly. He posted to social media after voting was announced, “WE DEMAND A RECOUNT. NFL — somebody has some explaining to do!!! Ain’t NO WAY in HELL Buddha Baker goes to the Pro Bowl ahead of My lil man with NO STATS. I know how important Pro Bowls are on the Resume; it just so happens to be his Contract year. We ain’t going for the Bullshit. Somebody Need to Holla at me.”

The aforementioned Bates (Atlanta Falcons), Budda Baker (Arizona Cardinals), and Julian Love (Seattle Seahawks) received Pro Bowl nods over Winfield Jr. Baker drew the attention of Winfield Sr. because his son’s statistics far outshine Baker’s.

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Winfield Jr. was later named as a First-Team All-Pro and could still reach the Pro Bowl when other players bow out due to injury.

The Buccaneer tabulated 122 total tackles in 2023 with 8 QB hits, a league-leading 6 forced fumbles, 6 sacks, and 6 tackles for loss. He also snatched 3 interceptions from the heavens.

Vikings GM Has 4
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VikingsTerritory’s Ali Siddiqui tweeted last week, “Sign him Vikings! Another Antoine Winfield in purple.”

A popular Vikings-themed account on X, Vikings Daily, also posted, “In a perfect world, Antoine Winfield Junior would be a Viking.”

Vikings fan @florey_andrew published a similar thought on the same app, “Vikings NEED to sign Winfield JR if harry hitman retires, it just makes too much sense and they fans would go nuts 👀👀.”

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Winfield’s next contract, from Tampa Bay or another team, is expected to fetch between $15-$17 million annually.

Vikings fans also tend to assume that Winfield Sr. might steer Winfield Jr. to Minnesota. We shall see.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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