A free agent this year, could we see All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. sign with the Minnesota Vikings, a team where his father built a legendary career?
After drafting Justin Jefferson with their first pick, the Minnesota Vikings still had one more selection to make in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Former University of Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was still on the board and some were hoping that the Vikings would use their second pick in the first round on the son of one of the best players to ever suit up for the purple and gold.
However, Minnesota wound up passing on Winfield with their second first-round selection, and by the time it the Vikings were back on the clock to make their pick in the second round of the 2020 draft, the young defensive back had already been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Vikings Rumors: Could Antoine Winfield Jr. end up back in Minnesota in 2024?
This offseason, Winfield is scheduled to become a free agent after spending the last four years with the Buccaneers.
To prevent the All-Pro safety from signing with another team this offseason, Tampa Bay could place their franchise tag on him.
Spotrac.com estimates the franchise tag for a safety in 2024 would cost a team around $16.2 million, which is an amount the Bucs will likely be able to afford, given that they're projected to have more than $47 million in cap space this year.
However, if Tampa Bay doesn't place the franchise tag on Winfield, he is free to sign with any other team he wishes this offseason.
If this ends up being the case, some believe the son of former Vikings star cornerback Antoine Winfield could end up back in Minnesota.
Among this group is PFF, who recently listed the Vikings as a possible landing spot for the talented safety in 2024.
If Harrison Smith ends up retiring this year, Winfield would be the perfect player to bring in as his replacement.
The addition of Winfield would allow Minnesota to continue to confidently utilize three safeties out on the field at once next season, assuming Cam Bynum and Josh Metellus maintain their roles from the 2023 campaign.
Last season with the Bucs, Winfield accumulated 122 tackles (six for a loss), 12 pass breakups, 12 pressures, six sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and three interceptions.
Surprisingly, he wasn't voted to the NFC's roster for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games, but that snub wound up quickly becoming a distant memory when he eventually earned his first-career First-Team All-Pro selection.
Winfield would be a great addition to the Vikings this year, but his return to the Twin Cities all really depends on whether Smith retires or not and if Tampa Bay decides to place their franchise tag on the young safety.