Antoine Winfield overcoming pain for playoffs game vs. Packers
“No, not at all,” Winfield said of eh likelihood of sitting out the playoff game. “I have the whole offseason to heal up. I will definitely be out there on Saturday night.”
The Minnesota Vikings are taking every step on their part to make sure Antoine Winfield will be available for the Wildcard round.
After Antoine Winfield broke his hand against the Texans Houston two weeks ago, he re-aggravated the injury when attempting to jam Green Bay Packers wide reliever Greg Jennings on the sideline in Week 17. Antoine Winfield was wearing a glove with a small pad on his hand to protect the broken hand, which pushed his had backwards upon contact. The pain shooting up Antoine Winfield swollen arm was intolerable to such a degree that the cornerback said later he “couldn’t take it” and exited early.
The Minnesota Vikings are looking to avoid a similar set back by giving Antoine Winfield a more suitable cast with a harder piece protecting the back of the hand, where the pain is most significant. The new cast also gives Antoine Winfield a greater level of mobility in his fingers.
Although Antoine Winfield hasn’t practiced all week and missed practice again on Thursday, he was spotted testing out the new cast by punching dummies on the sidelines. Antoine Winfield believes the harder cast will protect his broken hand better while allowing greater mobility.
“This week I will definitely be wearing a cast where my fingers and my thumb will be out,” said Antoine Winfield. “It will have a hard protection over the area that I broke. It's a little flexible at my wrist.”
“I can do all the movements,” added Antoine Winfield, “and it's hardened right over the area where I fractured the hand.”
Seeing Antoine Winfield’s increasing level of comfort with the situation, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is also feeling much more optimistic about the three-time Pro Bowlers’ broken hand.
“He makes a difference, there's no question about it,” Frazier discussed the impact of Antonie Winfield in Minnesota Vikings secondary. “So it was encouraging that he felt better today. His leadership – along with the fact that he's had a very, very good year for us – he's hard to replace.”
Marcus Sherels relived Antoine Winfield at nickel corner during last week’s win, but was harassed by the Green Bay Packers, who moved Jordy Nelson in the slot and destroyed Marcus Sherels for a 73-yard gain. Green Bay Packers cornerback Aaron Rodgers also picked up an overall efficiency after Antoine Winfield exited the game.
Antoine Winfield playing against Green Bay Packers comes with the risk of further injury and demands a high threshold for pain.
”It’s going to hurt. There is no way around that. I have a very high tolerance for pain but I’m not focusing on that,” said Antoine Winfield. “I’m just going out there focusing on my assignments, executing and playing football.”
If Antoine Winfield fails to make it to the playoffs round one game, Marcus Sherels and A.J. Jefferson will be Minnesota Vikings’ likely candidates to start in the slot.