Winfield makes rare speech to Vikings

CB Antoine Winfield (Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire)

Cornerback Antoine Winfield addressed the entire Vikings team and coaching staff Monday after a disappointing loss, something he has done two to three times since joining the team in 2004.

Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield did something Monday he rarely does, standing up and addressing the whole team after a 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts the day before.

Winfield declined to get into details of his speech, but said he has only done that two or three times since joining the Vikings in 2004.

"I only stand up and say stuff when it's coming from the heart, when I think it needs to be said," he said after Wednesday's practice. "I don't get up there and stand up there and say something every week."

Asked if his message was personal – he suffered the loss of his brother two weeks ago after he was shot multiple times in Akron, Ohio – or about football, Winfield said it was it about "football."

Coming off a 3-13 season in 2011 and letting a rare possible road win slip away from the team Sunday may have had something to do with the speech from the 14th-year veteran of the NFL.

"It's hard to win in this league. We could easily be 0-2," he said. "When there's a game like that and it's on the line and you have the chance to win …

"I'm only playing this game because I want to win a championship. It's not about the money anymore. I still love to play. I think I'm still productive. I can still play at a high level, so that's why I'm here."

Winfield said the entire team and the coaches – along with general manager Rick Spielman – were present when he addressed the team for approximately 10 minutes.

The three-time Pro Bowl cornerback said he just needed to get something off his mind.

"I thought a little bit about it the night before, but everything else is (from the heart)," Winfield said.

"I think the message came across well."


  • Linebacker Erin Henderson, who leads the team with 26 tackles and two sacks, didn't practice Wednesday because of a concussion. Henderson missed some time in Sunday's game for what was thought to be an elbow injury but returned to action. He missed a total of 11 snaps.

  • Center John Sullivan was limited in Wednesday's practice because of an ankle injury suffered in the season opener. Sullivan played the entire game Sunday against Indianapolis and is expected to play Sunday, as well.

  • Other Vikings listed on the injury report who participated fully Wednesday: CB Chris Cook (biceps), S Andrew Sendejo (ankle), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle), LB Marvin Mitchell (ankle), DE Brian Robison (elbow) and WR Jarius Wright (ankle).

  • 49ers RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) didn't participate in Wednesday's practice and WR Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) was limited.

  • Frazier had a chance to get to know former NFL Films president Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. "Steve was a good man and we know the impact that NFL Films has had on the popularity of the National Football League," Frazier said. "I got to know him during my time in Philadelphia; their location in New Jersey is maybe just five minutes from where my family and I lived. We would have a chance to conversate on my playing days and what NFL Films was like back then compared to now. He was just a great human being who really loved the game. Just talking to him about his dad and the vision that his dad had, and then his being able to carry on that vision and help with bringing the NFL players to the homes of the fans to the point where we were more than people with helmets on and shoulder pads. It just gave you an inside look of the behind the scenes look at the NFL and its players. It had a great deal of due where the League is today from a popularity standpoint."

    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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