Winfield absent from minicamp
Antoine Winfield (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)
Antoine Winfield (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)
Posted May 29, 2009
Tim Yotter

Cornerback Antoine Winfield was the only no-show for Vikings minicamp, but his absence was noticeable as he is in the final year of his contract and talks of an extension reportedly broke off weeks ago.

At rookie minicamp, Vikings head coach Brad Childress was left to deal with the absence of wide receiver Percy Harvin, the team’s first-round draft pick, when he became ill in an Atlanta airport and was hospitalized.

On the opening day of the team’s full-team minicamp, the Vikings were without Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield, who is in the final year of his contract with the Vikings.

Despite Winfield’s agent saying a couple weeks ago that talks of a contract extension had broken off, Childress said on Friday that Winfield was attending a funeral that is taking place on Saturday and he doesn’t expect him for any of the four practices over the weekend.

“He is at a good friend’s mother’s funeral, so he traveled and he’s attending that thing. I wouldn’t go much more in-depth. I’d let him give you the facts on that,” Childress said.

Winfield is scheduled to make $6 million in base salary for 2009, with a salary-cap hit of $6.1 million.

Childress declined to say if there have been any contract talks with him recently.

“We don’t talk about that,” he said.

But the coach did say that he had lunch with Winfield on Wednesday.

Winfield has a $100,000 workout bonus in his contract, but Childress didn’t say if there would be any fines or garnishments on that bonus.

“We kind of deal with that internally,” Childress said.

A text message to Winfield’s agent, Ashanti Webb, earlier Friday wasn’t returned.

Cornerback Marcus McCauley, who was inactive for six games last year, was receiving the first-team reps at left cornerback in Friday’s practice. McCauley was a 2007 third-round draft pick.

“I’d paint that the same way when (center) John Sullivan had a chance to go when Matt (Birk) wasn’t around last year (during the offseason). It’s a great opportunity. There is no downside to him getting elevated reps and everybody else’s reps elevating as well, from (Karl) Paymah to (Benny) Sapp.”

Birk, another Pro Bowler who was in the final year of his contract last year, didn’t attend most of the offseason workouts but did attend the mandatory full-team minicamp. Birk left via free agency in March after signing a three-year, $12 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

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