Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Williams on Winfield: `Wow'

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Antoine Winfield Updated: October 18, 2012 - 2:03 PM

Upon further review, defensive coordinator Alan Williams couldn't contain himself when it came time to talk about the game Antoine Winfield played last Sunday at Washington.

"I would say, `Wow,'" Williams said today. "Captial `W.' Capital `O.' Capital `W.' Wow."

Winfield had a team-high 10 tackles, three of them for losses, and an interception in Redskins' territory during the 38-26 loss. On the pick, Winfield read quarterback Robert Griffin III's eyes, jumped the route and got his feet down quickly as he was going out of bounds. Had the Vikings turned that play into seven points instead of three, it might have been an entirely different game.

Williams was asked what kind of impact it has on a defense when the team's oldest player -- Winfield, 35 -- has himself prepared to play as well as he's been playing this year.

"It has a huge impact," Williams said. "That's as good as I've seen anyone play in a long, long time. I thnk it's good because he's an older guy who comes out to practice. The way he prepares, the way he practices, the way he goes about his business, you look at him and you say, `That's what a professional looks like. That's how a professional prepares.' And these are the results of the way a guy prepares. So I think it has an impact, not only on the young guys but the older guys as well."

Winfield is second on the team in tackles with 50. He also leads the team in tackles for loss (seven), which is unheard of for a cornerback.

Williams was asked if he'll continue searching for ways to take some snaps off of Winfield to keep him fresher throughout the season. The team already has done some of that as they've tried to use rookie Josh Robinson more.

"It really depends on Antoine," Williams said. "We want to make sure we have Antione for the long haul. The way he played last week, again, wow, in terms of how he played.

" We want to make sure we have him for the long haul. So whatever the staff, [defensive backs] coach [Joe] Woods, the head coach thinks in terms of pitch count, we just want to make sure that we have him for the long haul. It just depends on how he feels from week to week, how he's playing and how his body is holding up. That will answer those questions moreso than what Josh is doing."

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