It wasn’t exactly protracted as these things go. Just a little two-day mini-drama. And it ended just the way most of us expected. Antoine Winfield ultimately chose Seattle over Minnesota. The Seahawks picked up the former Viking cornerback on a one-year, $3 million contract with $1 million guaranteed. Three million for one year is not a bad score for a 36-year-old defensive back coming off an injury. Good job for Antoine.
We could now sit here dissecting the way this played out and asking lots of questions. Did Rick Spielman’s alleged snubbing of Winfield play into the decision? Were the Vikings ever really players for Winfield after the way he was apparently dissed? The Vikings were reportedly still in on it in the last hours but who knows if they really were. Who knows if Winfield was just trying to get more money out of Seattle by acting like the Vikes still had a shot.
There’s a lot we’ll never know about how this played out. But here’s something we do know. Veteran players on the Vikings are not happy. Several older players expressed their wish to have Winfield come back. How do they feel now that another major piece of the 2012 surprise playoff run team has been let go for money reasons? They certainly appreciate the realities of the salary cap. But they also know that Rick Spielman has been on a frugality kick and there are probably some other guys who are wondering if they will be next to either get cut or be asked to re-negotiate.
This is reality now. The Vikings are all about youth and value. So they will move on without Antoine Winfield just as they will move on without Percy Harvin. As of now, Josh Robinson pencils in as the slot corner. But the second-year-man Robinson is nowhere near Winfield’s caliber in any area of the game. He is a big time unknown quantity right now.
You have to believe the Vikings will be upgrading their cornerback talent in the forthcoming draft. Could Tyrann Mathieu, a guy who is often compared to Winfield, be on their radar screen? Mathieu has issues too. On Friday a report surfaced saying he admitted to failing no fewer than ten drug tests. That’s not exactly a sign of a high-character guy. Do you want to replace a great player and leader like Winfield with a turd who got kicked off his college team and is in double-digits in failed drug tests? He better be a dang good player.