Winfield: Calling injury a strain is a stretch

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 27, 2011 - 7:43 AM

Though he wasn't specific about his neck, the Vikings cornerback says the injury is more serious than a strain.

For more than three weeks, Antoine Winfield's neck injury has been described as a "strain." But it was more serious than that, the Vikings cornerback said Wednesday.

"I'm not going to comment, but it's more than a strain," Winfield said in his first comments since suffering the injury Oct. 2 in Kansas City. "It's definitely more than a strain."

Winfield said that's why he's being extra cautious not to rush back, even with his backup, Chris Cook, suspended indefinitely because of a felony charge of domestic assault.

"Of course I want to get back in there," Winfield said. "But myself, coaches, trainers, we've been smart about it. I don't want to rush myself, get in there and really do some damage. ... My style of play, I love contact. I love to hit. So my neck is very important to me. If it was my shoulder or maybe my foot, I'd be out there playing. But with my neck, I'll take it a little slower."

Thursday will be the key day that Winfield said will determine whether he's able to play at Carolina on Sunday. A magnetic resonance imaging test last Thursday came back clear, but Winfield said he wants to test the neck with full participation in Thursday's padded practice, including the full-go goal-line situations.

"I'm excited about it to see where I'm at," Winfield said. "It's been 3 1/2 weeks. It's getting a lot better. I have my full range of motion. I'm heading in the right direction."

Peterson sits out practice

The Vikings listed 12 players on their injury report. Five did not practice, including running back Adrian Peterson. He twisted an ankle against the Packers but was able to return.

Also missing practice were receiver Percy Harvin (ribs), guard Anthony Herrera (knee), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (foot) and linebacker Erin Henderson (personal reasons).

Four players were limited: nose tackle Remi Ayodele (ankle), linebacker E.J. Henderson (knee), defensive end Brian Robison (shoulder) and Winfield (neck). Three players had full participation after passing third-party concussion exams: free safety Husain Abdullah, strong safety Jamarca Sanford and center John Sullivan.

Good, bad news

Although coach Leslie Frazier lists Herrera as doubtful for Sunday's game because of a left knee injury, it could have been worse. Herrera suffered damage to his lateral collateral ligament, not the more serious anterior cruciate ligament that the Vikings had feared. Herrera missed the last six games of last season because of a torn left ACL.

Frazier said Joe Berger probably will be the starting right guard against Carolina. Berger started at center last week because Sullivan was out. Berger has 21 NFL starts, but all of them are at center.

Etc.

• Wide receiver Bernard Berrian cleared waivers Wednesday and became a free agent. The Vikings are still on the hook for $1.117 million of Berrian's salary for the rest of the season.

• Rookies Butch Lewis, a guard from Southern California, and Kerry Taylor, a receiver from Arizona State, were signed to the practice squad.

• The fallout from the kick heard 'round the league continues. Robison has been fined $20,000 for his kick to the, um, midsection of Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang.

• Sunday is the sixth anniversary of the Vikings' first trip to Carolina. They lost 38-13 in what turned out to be quarterback Daunte Culpepper's final game as a Viking. On the last play of the first quarter, Culpepper scrambled and was hit low by cornerback Chris Gamble. Culpepper tore three of the four major ligaments in his right knee. Brad Childress, who replaced Mike Tice as coach after the season, clashed early on with Culpepper and traded him to the Dolphins for a second-round draft pick.

• The Vikings are 0-2 in Carolina. Panthers receiver Steve Smith has played a big part in both losses, catching a combined 23 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns. In the game in 2005, Smith set team records for catches (14) and receiving yards (201). Smith leads the NFL in receiving yards this season (818).

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