Winfield probable for return against Packers
Antoine Winfield (Bruce Kluckhorn/USP)
Antoine Winfield (Bruce Kluckhorn/USP)
Posted Nov 12, 2011
Tim Yotter

Antoine Winfield’s return to the lineup Monday night should help the Vikings secondary as they face one of the league’s best passing attacks, and the league’s best passer this season.

The Vikings injury report produced no surprises and mostly good news as they continue to prepare for their Monday night game at Green Bay.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield, who has missed the last four games with a neck strain, has practiced all week and will play. Winfield maintained all week that there was no question he would play, and his probable designation (defined as a “virtual certainty”) backs that up. With CB Chris Cook remaining away from the team with his legal issues, getting Winfield back will be especially helpful against a pass-centric Packers offense.

“It’s big for us. He is one of our best football players,” defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said. “He is back to being healthy. He gives us some depth in the back end and we are excited about him being back.”

Winfield will likely move inside to the slot receiver when the Packers employ three and four wide receivers, and he is one of the better blitzers in the league coming from the slot. Pagac predictably declined to comment if Winfield’s return would allow him to bring more pressure on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

“That could. He is a good blitzer, let’s put it that way,” Pagac said. “He’s also decent in coverage. It depends on what our game plan ends up being.

“He is one of the better football players that I have been around in my coaching career. He has instincts, he has savvy, he has quickness, he has toughness, and he has power. He might be little, but he will sting you.”

Right tackle Phil Loadholt, who will draw a challenging assignment against the Packers’ oft-blitzing outside linebackers, including Clay Matthews, is also listed as probable after dealing with illness during the week.

Loadholt and Winfield were both full participants on Saturday.

In addition to Cook, starting right guard Anthony Herrera will miss his second straight game with a lateral collateral ligament injury in the same knee in which he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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