Vikings still working on their own
Antoine Winfield (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Antoine Winfield (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
VikingUpdate.com
Posted Mar 25, 2009
Tim Yotter


The Vikings have a decision to make soon on FB Naufahu Tahi and are also looking to sign cornerback Antoine Winfield to an extension, head coach Brad Childress confirmed Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings.

The Vikings might not sign one of the top free agents still available, but they are making decisions on some of their own current and potential future free agents.

The team still hasn’t decided how to respond to an offer sheet that fullback Naufahu Tahi received last Friday. The Vikings had tendered him at the lowest level, $1.01 million, as a restricted free agent, but Tahi’s former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, came calling.

The Bengals signed Tahi to a $1.4 million offer sheet with $500,000 guaranteed. The Vikings have until Friday to match the offer or lose Tahi without compensation. They are still contemplating their action.

“I think we still have 24 or 48 hours,” head coach Brad Childress said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I tell everybody in these times of economic crisis to buy something a week earlier than you really need to and the interest accrues – if you do the math, there’s no sense.”

On Tuesday night, Tahi’s agent, Dave Lee, told Viking Update that he hadn’t heard from the team and didn’t know if they would sign him or not.

Tahi played in about one-third of the Vikings’ offensive plays but didn’t have a rushing attempt all season. He caught 16 passes for 37 yards (a 2.3-yard average).

The Vikings aren’t in danger of losing Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield yet. He still has one more year on his original deal with the team. However, the Vikings have been negotiating with Winfield’s agent, Ashanti Webb, in an attempt to sign him to an extension.

“We’re in a pretty good dialogue with his agent right now. Yeah, that’s ongoing. (We’d) like to get him done,” Childress said. “With the (uncertain) future with the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) the way it is, I’d love to have him for a couple more years. I say couple, but it could be one, could be two, could be three.”

Winfield will turn 32 in June, but to date he has shown no signs of slowing down. Last year was his first season making the Pro Bowl. He tied for the team lead with two interceptions and 14 passes defensed, and was second with two fumble recoveries. He returned one fumble recovery (that he caused on a sack) for a touchdown and returned a blocked kick 59 yards for a touchdown. He also finished third on the team with 96 tackles and tied for second with nine tackles-for-loss.

Only cornerback Cedric Griffin and safety Darren Sharper played a higher percentage of defensive snaps last year for the Vikings than Winfield’s 97 percent.

Winfield also was named second-team All-Pro, his first All-Pro recognition. All four of his career returns for touchdowns have come since 2006 with the Vikings.



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