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.


Sanford not convinced Winfield is done

Posted by: Chip Scoggins under Vikings players Updated: September 4, 2013 - 4:46 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday that he texted former cornerback Antoine Winfield but that he would not try and talk any player out of retirement.

Safety Jamarca Sanford intends to take a different approach.

"I will most definitely call him and try and talk him out of retirement," Sanford said. "I'm pretty sure Coach Frazier isn't going to call him or nobody at the top [of the organization] is going to call him. But I'm for sure going to reach out to him and see what he's thinking."

Asked if he's convinced Winfield is truly done playing, Sanford said: "I'm not convinced that that he's done because I know how much he loves the game. But as of right now, he said he's retired. Everybody reaches that point in their career where they just ride off in the sunset."

Sanford believes Winfield still can play at a high level, if healthy. Winfield was bothered by a sore knee in preseason and it's unknown how much that injury affected him in camp.

"As long as you've got a healthy 26, you've got something there," Sanford said. "Things didn't work out in Seattle for him. He would fit back right in here with no problem."

Sanford said he was surprised by news that Winfield is retiring.

"First of all, I was surprised that he got cut from Seattle," he said. "I'm still shocked. But a lot of people don't know, it's different when you've been in one system for six, seven years and going into a new system. It's a lot different the way you do things and what you're used to hearing and the scheme that you run. It slows you down as a player. But Antoine, as long as he's healthy, I know he can come back here and fit right in with no problem."

Sanford said Winfield was the best nickel/slot corner he's seen "hands down."

"You've got a linebacker, a safety and a corner all in one," Sanford said. "Every time we turned on tape, if he's on the field, 26 has a highlight."

INJURY REPORT

Kevin Williams (knee) and McLeod Bethel-Thompson (illness) did not practice Wednesday.

Limited participation: Sharrif Floyd (knee), Phil Loadholt (knee), Cordarrelle Patterson (back), Mistral Raymond (shoulder), Letroy Guion (finger), Harrison Smith (back).

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