Hey, Joe Mauer missed a whole month and he was the LEAGUE MVP.
Let's look at the numbers...
In games that Winfield has played this year Minnesota is 6-0. They are 5-2 without him.
The four highest opponents' point totals occurred while he was out with an injury: 31 vs. Baltimore; 30 at Arizona; 27 at Pittsburgh; and 26 at Green Bay.
In 50% of his games, Winfield has had at least 9 tackles. In just over 5 total games he has 39 tackles.
In the game at home versus the (9-4) Packers, Winfield had 10 tackles, 2 pass defends, and an interception.
In the last game versus the (9-4) Bengals, 9 tackles and a forced fumble.
Antoine Winfield shuts a side of the field. His ability to stop the run puts him in a similar class this year with the Packers' Charles Woodson and the Jets' Darrelle Revis. Against Cincinnati, the entire secondary played much better than the previous week against the Cardinals. Cedric Griffin stepped up on a few occasions, while Madieu Williams had maybe his best game of the year against his former team. Despite two rookie starters, the Vikings' defense played well.
Minnesota has locked up a play off bid. They should nail down a bye soon. Certainly Favre, Peterson, Allen and many others deserve credit. The whole team and coaching staff do.
But my fantasy-MVP vote is for the player that makes my defense Super Bowl worthy. The one that takes a porous secondary and makes it a little tougher. The player that eliminates the outside run and short pass on his side.
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