Coach Brad Childress said Antoine Winfield came out of the Vikings' facility today and moved around a bit on the outdoor fields during practice but that doesn't mean the veteran cornerback is ready to return from an injury to his right foot that kept him out for two games before the bye.
Injured players often do drills off to the side during practice and Winfield just happened to do his work during a portion in which the media is not allowed to watch. This is not to be confused with Winfield having actually participated in practice.
Asked how the Vikings will approach the situation with Winfield, Childress said: "Those guys bodies talk to them and he's, like most of our guys, they are not trying to malinger or anything like that. They are trying to get themselves back out there and get in the mix. He's no different. He's pushed it as hard as he possibly can under doctor's orders and the next part of it is getting out here and moving on this hard surface."
Overall, Childress said he was very pleased with how his players returned from a week off. "[They] came back in decent condition, decent weights," Childress said. "Some of them look like they wintered during the week a little bit."
There was one absence today. Childress said that wide receiver Vinny Perretta, a member of the practice squad, is dealing with a family issue.
The Vikings are 7-1 and have a three-game lead in the NFC North coming out of the bye. Here was some reaction from players about their position.
“Finish,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams said about the focus. “We’re in a good position right now. We have to keep stacking wins. For the most part, teams are remembered for what’s done in November and December and not what’s done in September and August.”
Said tight end Visanthe Shiancoe: “Well, Green Bay lost. I just want to reiterate. The Detroit Lions lost. The Bears lost. And we had a bye week. That’s pretty good to come into that. We separated ourselves a little bit in the division, but now we have to look at the NFC now. Not to say that we have solidified the division yet because I can’t speak too prematurely. But it is what it is."
“We’re only 7-1. We’re not 15-1 or 19-1 yet,” Shiancoe added. “We still have a lot of work to do. Our offense still hasn’t peaked yet so that’s a good thing. At least we’re on an up slope right now. We haven’t even played our best football yet so that’s a lot to look forward to."