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Minnesota Vikings: Antoine Winfield, It's Time to Move to Safety

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Antoine Winfield #26 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Brian DezelskeCorrespondent IIIDecember 16, 2016

In a recent interview with Brian Hall of FOX Sports North, Antoine Winfield recently balked at the idea of moving from his traditional corner position to safety, a move that would really fix some issues in the Minnesota Vikings secondary.

At the ripe old age of 34 (not saying that someone in their mid-30s may as well be rocking-chair bound), being able to keep up with the younger, faster receivers in the league is becoming a much taller task for No. 26.

He’s obviously lost a step—that was apparent as far back as late 2009 against the Chicago Bears when he was roasted by Devin Aromashodu on the Bears' first play in overtime following an Adrian Peterson fumble—a game that essentially cost them home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

However, what he hasn’t lost is his outstanding knowledge of the game and ability to read and dissect a play. He is considered one of the smarter defensive backs in the league. It would be extremely advantageous for him to drop back to safety and put that football sense to use in a position where he would have an extra couple of steps to react.

If that were to be the case—and most people seem to agree it would be—why does he hate the idea so much?

Sure, a change of position likely involves the return of Chris Cook—something nobody is quite sure of yet—but if he indeed does come back, there’s no reason Winfield shouldn’t be playing safety next year.

Other big-name players have made the move—Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams are just a couple names that fly off the top of my head that have had phenomenal success at the safety position.

Another star player who has the same question swirling around him is Charles Woodson of the Green Bay Packers.

He’s 35 years old and will be entering his 15th season in 2012.

Woodson has already played some safety back in 2008 and it sounds like that could be revisited this upcoming season, although Packers Coach Mike McCarthy was quoted as saying the move is, "very premature."

So if Woodson is fine with a potential position change, which he has been in the past, and a Hall of Fame player and future HOF player were both OK with it, what gives Winfield the right to turn his nose up at the possibility?

I pose this question for one reason only: As good as he has been for the Vikings, he’s never been on the same level of the aforementioned names I spoke of.

 

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