Antoine Winfield Leads the Vikings Secondary by Example & Other NFC North News

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2012

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Antoine Winfield #26 and Josh Robinson #21 of the Minnesota Vikings team up and tackle Nate Burleson #13 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Vikings won 20-13  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Defensive coordinator Alan Williams is very impressed with cornerback Antoine Winfield, according to Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press.

While it's clear to anyone watching that Winfield's coverage skills have diminished, the biggest issue with him has been health.

He's healthy now and Williams is right—it's making a big difference. His 28 tackles (and 16 assisted tackles) show just how valuable—and willing—he is in defending the run and cleaning up when a receiver makes a catch.

As Williams mentions in the article, his leadership comes into play as well. Portions of the secondary are very youthful, and guys like Mistral Raymond, Harrison Smith and even third year pro Chris Cook benefit by his example in preparation, execution and attitude.

This is a young team overall and one that might be in a position to do some great things this season. It can be hard for young players to stay focused, and having Winfield in the locker room and on the field will help keep them balanced and on point.

Winfield doesn't have a ton of years left, but even if he isn't in his prime anymore, his contributions to this team are pretty significant.

Let's see what else is happening in the NFC North.


Chicago Bears

The Tribune's David Haugh says while Chris Williams was indeed a bust, he wasn't the reason former GM Jerry Angelo got fired.

Jay Cutler isn't about to change who he is and how he does things according to Michael Wright of ESPN Chicago.

Matt Bowen has a fantastic piece in the Tribune about how Jay Cutler and the Bears can beat the Lions' blitz.


Detroit Lions

Corey Williams practiced yesterday and could be available for the Monday night tilt with Chicago, according to Dave Birkett of the Free Press.

Justin Rogers of says safety Amari Spievey has overcome a lot more than better players to regain his starting job.

Bleacher Report's Scott Bischoff tells us the biggest roadblocks for the Lions to win the NFC North.


Green Bay Packers

I wrote about this earlier in the week, but Tyler Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel really drives my point home—the depth on the defensive line is once again a huge difference maker for the Packers.

GET GOODELL ON  THE BAT-PHONE! The Journal-Sentinel also reports (via the Associated Press) that the NFLPA is questioning how the NFL can suspend players for payouts when none other than Packer legend Reggie White did it in 1996.

Jermichael Finley is going to play through pain, according to Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin.


Minnesota Vikings

Mike Wobschall of takes a closer look at the Cardinals' front seven facing the Vikings this weekend.

Wondering why Chris Cook wasn't hitting Washington receivers at the line? Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN has your answers.

The Daily Norseman's Eric Thompson says that the Vikings' biggest hurdle to overcome against the Cardinals might be themselves.


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