Mixed signals may have driven Winfield from Minnesota


As the dust settles on the decision of cornerback Antoine Winfield to join the Seahawks, some still wonder why he ultimately didn’t choose to return to the Vikings.

The notion that the Vikings may have offered more than the $1 million in guaranteed money Winfield will get from the Seahawks misses the point, since Winfield gets the full $3 million offered by either team if he’s on the Week One roster.  And with a third of his contract guaranteed by the Seahawks, he most likely will be.

Winfield’s decision to move on from Minnesota likely had more to do with the mixed signals he received over the past month.  Instead of trying to reduce a $7.25 million base salary that, given the manner in which free agency unfolded clearly was too high for a cornerback on the wrong side of 35, the Vikings dumped him.  Then, coach Leslie Frazier made it clear that he still wants Winfield on the team.

He was the glue,” Frazier said last month, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “The way that he was in our meeting rooms, at practice, his participation in the offseason program.  He was one of those guys who had not been around a lot in the offseason [previously].  And he was at everything a year ago.  So his influence, you can’t put a dollar figure on that.  It made a big difference on our season and in the development of a lot of players as well.”

If that’s the way the head coach feels, there was an apparent disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff.  Even if the Vikings believed before free agency began that it would be impossible to work out a deal with which both sides would be happy, they should have tried.  They should have talked to him.  He should have known it was coming.

To get him to come back in the aftermath of abruptly cutting him loose, it wasn’t going to be enough to match the $3 million Winfield would get from the Seahawks.  The Vikings needed to find a way to send a clear and unified message to Winfield that they truly wanted him back.

It’s still unclear whether they actually did, or whether this was about moving on from an older player one year too early — instead of doing it one year too late.

24 responses to “Mixed signals may have driven Winfield from Minnesota

  1. As a Vikings fan, I can’t blame Antoine Winfield for not returning. Rick Spielman treated Winfield poorly by not approaching him about this possibility and made no efforts in convincing him to return. What’s worse is that there’s now a schism that’ll exist between the front office and the Vikings players and coaching staff. Not a wise thing to do especially coming off of a surprising successful season.

  2. I think having the head coach call you and tell you they want you back is pretty clear. Why don’t you?

  3. Mixed signals?
    He has been a hard working, devoted, and Been to probowls. Then he was released, without an offer to take a paycut. Sooooooo he entertained offers, and took less money to join bevell, rice, and harvin. The 3 with the team in 2010 when they got to the nfc championship.
    Sounds like he ll take a shot at getting that ring in Seattle

  4. I’m going to take a stab in the dark, but I’m wondering if maybe,just maybe,winning a ring before he retired had something to do with it. Silly, I know.

  5. where’s bud grant when you need him?:

    I don’t know buddy, let me put it in terms you might understand a little better.

    let’s say your gm tells you that McDonald’s no longer needs your valued fry cook skills and you were now unemployed. then, 2 weeks later, your shift leader calls and says, I know we just dumped you on your behind, but your a valued member here and we really do want you supersizing logicalvoicesays daily lunch order. how would you feel?

    got it? good.

  6. God you people need to get your facts straight.

    Winfield’s agents were asked to take a pay cut at the combine and they flat out refused. Period.

    Bunch of overreacting babies here. OMG there’s going to be a schism between the front office and the players now…. just like there’s a huge schism between the Patriots front office and players. Lawyer Milloy anyone?

    It’s a business, you refuse to take a pay cut, and the Vikings did him the favor of cutting him at the start of free agency so he could get on the market early, and were always very open about their intent to have him return.

    He chose the Seahawks, and good for him, that’s his choice. But this stuff about how horribly mistreated a 36 year old situational player who was getting grossly overpaid and refused to take a paycut is just silly media spun BS

  7. The truth is, he won’t be on the field enough to be a difference-maker for either the Vikes or the Seahawks, so he might as well follow the money. Good for Winfield and his agent for getting one last contract for lots of benchwarming.

  8. If spielman can draft a cb as good as the saftey he drafted last year…….Skol …. Winnie’s been a great player, but he’s slowing down and been getting injured more often the last few years.

  9. The hawks are hungry for a superbowl. I wonder why the Vikings are not going for it as well. Peterson is the motivation here.

  10. Can’t blame him for leaving Minnesota, but for another small market city?

    He’s just going to be another guy there with Sherman getting all the press.

    Wonder if he really though things out.

    Should have signed with a big market team, played out his last two years and possibly have decent endorsements for life; rather than, wasting away
    in rainy Seattle.

  11. Please…bunch of haters. Winfield needs 2 grow up and understand he just did not fit into our plans, sounds like Seattle thinks they are this years ” dream team”…good luck with that!

  12. If the money was the same you think he would have stayed. I believe his kid plays high school ball for Bud Grant’s son in MN.

  13. He’s gone. Time to move on. New blood coming to Twin Cities! Finally, Vikes getting it right and letting go of the oldies, not signing the has beens!!!! Screw you Sleazehawks!!!
    SKOL VIKES!!!!

  14. He’s just going to be another guy there with Sherman getting all the press.

    So you say. If you haven’t noticed the TEAM and RW get more positive press than half the league. Minnesota, not so much.

    I suspect from reading about Winfield he’s a pro and doesn’t look for press as much as a championship.

  15. Mixed signals my butt. If the Vikings really wanted Winfield, they would have gone after him a lot harder. The brain trust of the Vikings (and I use that term quite loosely) think they are better off without him.

    2013 will prove whether they are right but I have my doubts.

  16. The Vikings have about $4mil in cap room and wanted to reduce his role. They also did offer to reduce his salary but he rejected it. There is only so much they can do to appease him. At his age the Vikings aren’t losing much in terms of on-field production and can give playing time to younger players, so no big deal.

  17. Eh they can have him just like they take all our castoffs! it will help us out in the long run like speilmans been trying to take us all off season long what frazier wants and what he wants are two complete diffrent things the media is what got the signals confused i never heard anything about speilman wanting him back he just said he wouldnt rule out a return! Ask the eagles Sleazehawks plaayoff games arent won in the offseason! Skol VIKES!!!!1111

  18. I think the growing tension between Frazier and Spielman is a result of each guy preparing to blame the other for the debacle that will be their 2013 season.

  19. What a crock. These articles of opinion need to go. Deadspin has more integrity. Ever since that PFT poll was released about allowing comments or not, I’ve been looking at PFT in a different light. The numbers were overwhelming to get rid of comments. And from what I read 75% of them are nothing more than trash talk and by people who clearly only have one agenda. To insult teams no matter what the subject is. So another idea is to keep comments and ban the classless trolls. Be a real journalist and report on facts, not conjecture. Even if it is the rumor mill..

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