Winfield honored for big night

Antoine Winfield's impressive night of blitzing Michael Vick was rewarded with NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

In what was one of the easiest choices the NFL has had to make all season, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday for his incredible performance against the Eagles Tuesday night.

Winfield sparked a Vikings defense that knocked down Michael Vick 14 times in Tuesday's 24-14 win. He registered nine tackles, had two sacks and, for anyone who had him in a fantasy football league with a championship on the line, he provided a monster individual play by registering a sack that forced a fumble that he recovered and took in for a touchdown. He was set loose on blitzes throughout the game and, even when he didn't get to Vick, the pressure he provided blew up the intended play call.

Winfield's performance was as dominant as has been seen on a Vikings defense with more than its share of game-changers. For a defense that could have packed it in following the crazy last couple of weeks, Winfield showed that, on a night when just about every other defensive back on the roster dropped a potential interception, he was on point and potentially made the difference between winning and losing.


  • Last year, the Vikings had 10 players named to the Pro Bowl. Had they made the Super Bowl, the NFL was going to have to put a casting call to other NFC players because 20 percent of the roster was going to be otherwise occupied. This time around? Adrian Peterson was the lone Viking named to the all-star squad.

  • The NFL's decision to slap Brett Favre on the wrist with a $50,000 fine wasn't what the attorneys for Jenn Sterger, the former Jets employee at the center of the messaging scandal, were likely looking for. The lawyers had said Sterger wouldn't seek millions in court (or, more likely, an out-of-court hush-money payment) if the NFL punished Favre. $50,000 to Favre, given his contract, is the equivalent to a speeding ticket for most of us. It represented about three minutes of the per-game salary Favre will be paid on his $16 million contract. It's more of an annoyance than a penalty that is going to put some hurt on him. In fact, the NFL actually found no guilt in what Favre was alleged to have done. The fine assessed was for "not being forthcoming" with investigators.

    "Our evidence and the personal testimony of Ms. Sterger clearly showed a pattern of lewd and offensive behavior by Mr. Favre that lasted all of the 2008 season," Sterger's attorney, Joseph Conway, said in a statement. "… In addition to the offensive messages, there was ample evidence to show that the sexually explicit photographs were part of Favre's inappropriate behavior. Our evidence clearly showed that the photos were sent by Favre."

  • In the final irony of this stage of the Favre saga, it was big enough news that the NBC Nightly News gave the story a minute of coveted prime-time news coverage – seemingly far too much for a tabloid story. But, the ironic part was the photo shown of Sterger – the signature photo of her wearing a Jets shirt that is torn to show off her cleavage. Isn't there a photo available of her where she's not wearing clothes that make the NFL appear a tad sleazy?

  • If the Vikings can take anything positive from their hellish last three weeks since the collapse of the Metrodome, it will be their familiarity with Ford Field Sunday – the site of their final regular-season game against the Lions and the site of their "home" game with the Giants.

  • Favre took a baseline concussion test Wednesday and initial reports are that he failed the test, which he needs to pass in order to play Sunday in what would be his last game. His recuperative powers have been amazing, but this one may be out of his hands because, unlike a biceps tendon injury Favre and the coaches could conceal, outside independent doctors are involved when treating a concussion.

  • Favre wasn't the only Viking suffering concussion symptoms – even though the team technically didn't practice fully yesterday given their late-night road game on the East Coast. Sidney Rice and E.J. Henderson would have missed practice due to concussions. Safety Madieu Williams continues to be sidelined with concussion symptoms as well.

  • Star Lions receiver Calvin Johnson missed practice Wednesday with lingering ankle problems.

  • Without Wednesday's practice, it has been 26 days since Favre has practiced fully with his teammates.

  • In his Wednesday press conference, Eagles coach Andy Reid, whose team is locked into the No. 3 seed thanks to the Vikings, said that QB Michael Vick might sit out Sunday's finale. Reid said Vick suffered a quad injury on the first play of the game – a 14-yard scramble in which he was taken down hard by refusing to baseball slide to the ground. Vick limped noticeably throughout the game.

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