Antoine Winfield won’t let anything keep him out of Saturday’s playoff game vs. Green Bay. Not even a broken hand. The cornerback says he’s going to play despite the excruciating pain in the hand. The Vikings are doing everything to make sure Antoine can get in there and stay in there. They’ve given him a new cast with a harder piece covering the back of his hand where the pain is the worst. This gives him mobility in the fingers while still protecting the injury.
How much pain is associated with this injury? Winfield is one of the toughest guys around. But even he couldn’t stand the agony he experienced on the field on Sunday. Winfield says he tried to jam Greg Jennings at the line and felt a surge of pain up his arm. “I couldn’t take that,” he said later. Winfield was forced to leave the game. Marcus Sherels tried to fill in at nickel corner but was badly burned. The Packers lined up Jordy Nelson in the slot and destroyed Sherels for a 73-yard gain. Aaron Rodgers overall was much more effective after Winfield left.
The Vikings certainly don’t want to find out what would happen without Winfield in Green Bay Saturday. But if Winfield can’t go they plan to use Sherels and A.J. Jefferson in the slot. Josh Robinson is not a candidate for slot duty due to a lack of work at that position over the course of the year.
As for Winfield, you know he will strap it on and at least try to play. But Winfield has no illusions about the discomfort he will experience. ”It’s going to hurt,” Winfield said. “There is no way around that. I have a very high tolerance for pain but I’m not focusing on that. I’m just going out there focusing on my assignments, executing and playing football.”
Winfield wants to once again experience the joy of beating the Packers in Green Bay in the playoffs. He and teammate Kevin Williams were on the Viking team that pulled off the feat in 2005. In that game Winfield had an interception of Brett Favre, one of four picks against the Hall of Fame QB.