Vikings players had Monday off, but injured cornerback Antoine Winfield made a locker room cameo four weeks after his season ended in a 45-7 loss in Green Bay.
Winfield fractured his clavicle in that game, landing awkwardly after a tackle on tight end Jermichael Finley. He was placed on injured reserve the next day, had surgery soon after and continues to rehabilitate.
Winfield said he should be able to resume lifting weights in about two weeks and expects to be at full strength around April.
Meanwhile, he remains frustrated that the Vikings' skid continues.
"No one expected this season to go the way it's gone," he said. "The guys are still out there working hard. They have three games left. But it's been tough."
Winfield paused and asked reporters how many losses the team now had. Reminded the Vikings were 2-11, he recoiled.
"Ooh," he said. "That's pretty bad."Burton's season over
Receiver Stephen Burton will join Winfield and seven other Vikings on injured reserve this week. Burton's season ended in the first half in Detroit when he injured the medial collateral ligament in his knee. Burton will not need surgery. But with only three games left, the timeline for the rookie's return left the Vikings with only one logical option.
Burton's move opens an opportunity for Emmanuel Arceneaux, who was promoted to the active roster from the practice squad Monday.
"We think he'll be a plus for us," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's an excellent blocker, has good hands, has pretty decent speed. But his work ethic is one of the things we'll really appreciate."Were they robbed?
By most accounts, the Vikings remain miffed officials didn't see linebacker DeAndre Levy tugging Joe Webb's face mask on the game's final play Sunday. Had Levy been flagged, the Vikings would have had one more play -- an untimed down from inside the Detroit 1-yard line. Yet while the missed call had the fan base infuriated, the team refused to blame the loss on that error.
"To come in here and blame it on a facemask, we had way, way, way worse things go wrong in that game," receiver Percy Harvin said.
Added Frazier: "You would have liked to have seen it called. But we can do some things to avoid putting ourselves in that situation. Six turnovers over the course of the game -- five up to that point -- really makes it hard to win in our league."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league reviews every play of every game, issuing officiating grades that are used to determine playoff assignments. "In addition," Aiello said in an e-mail, "they must meet high standards in their overall grades in order to be NFL officials."Big plays, big deal
Before losing a fumble on the final play, Webb had been masterful in leading the Vikings to within 1 yard of a dramatic upset. On the final series, the Vikings ran 17 plays and marched 79 yards before the final miscue. Webb had eight completions for 57 yards on the drive and added a clutch 10-yard scramble on fourth-and-6 with 26 seconds left.
Frazier called the final possession "a championship-caliber drive."
"For him to take us down and get us to the 1-yard line in position to win the game, that's a big deal," he said. "You don't take that lightly. That's what we need. We've been in a few games like that where we've had the ball at the end of the game and we needed to put together a drive. So that was big."Etc.
• Rookie safety Mistral Raymond continues to have recurring cramping problems, an issue that surfaced again in Detroit.
• As of Monday afternoon, approximately 3,500 tickets remain for Sunday's game with New Orleans. It must be sold out by noon Thursday to avoid a TV blackout.