Winfield has been wanting an extension for the last several months and didn't attended any of the Vikings' organized team activities or minicamp this offseason, the latter of which was missed because he was attending the funeral for the mother of a good friend, according to head coach Brad Childress. Now, however all the uncertainty with his future is behind him, although Winfield said his confidence in the process didn't waiver much.
"I was pretty confident it would get done. I wanted to be here as (long as) the Vikings stepped up and made an offer for me to be here. Let's just say it all worked out," he said.
The Vikings were believed to be hesitant to commit too much long-term money to the deal because of Winfield's age. He turned 32 last month and, as Viking Update pointed out, not too many cornerbacks are starting caliber in their mid and late 30s.
Winfield said his age may have played a factor in the negotiations taking so long to complete.
"I'm sure it may have. It's rare that 32-year-old cornerbacks get extensions going into their final season of the contract, but they see fit that I'm still playing at a high level and I will continue to do that for a few more seasons," he said, adding that he didn't have to make any concessions in the first few years of his extension because of his age. "It's a fair deal for both sides."
According to NFL.com, the $36 million deal has $16.1 million in guarantees with accelerators in the final two years if he is still a starter and decelerators if he isn't.
Although Winfield has always been considered a solid starting cornerback who packs a big punch into a small body (he's listed at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds), he was finally rewarded for one of his best seasons last year when he made the Pro Bowl as a starter for the NFC and was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
He finished last season with 96 tackles (74 solo), two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, scored touchdowns on a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal, had four forced fumbles, 14 passes defensed, nine tackles-for-loss and two QB hurries. His seven career fumble recoveries ties him with Bobby Bryant for the franchise record and his touchdown on a blocked field goal in 2008 was the first of its kind in team history.
His multi-dimensional contributions likely helped him earn an extension.
"I think it helped a lot. I think I had a pretty good year last year, made some pretty big plays. The credit really goes to the Vikings organization and then my agent. They've been going back and forth the last few months and I'm just glad they came with this great agreement," Winfield said.
The process may not have gone as quickly as Winfield or the Vikings wanted, but he said he didn't get frustrated.
"Not really. I pretty much stayed out of it. That's why we all hire agents. (Ashanti Webb) pretty much did all the work. I just pretty much stayed in the background, worked out, just preparing for the season," he said.
Although there were tensions between Winfield and Childress early in Childress' tenure with the Vikings, Winfield put that relationship in a much better light now.
"It's a great relationship. This was never about Brad and I. This was about me trying to get an extension and finish my career as a Minnesota Viking," he said. "If everything goes as planned, if I stay healthy, I'll be able to play out these last five (years)."
And, an important factor for him was his ability to keep his family in the same city and his kids in the same school.
"It played a great part in all of this. My kids are 11, 8 and 5. In the last five years, they've made a lot of friends and they're comfortable in the school system," he said. "It would have been a tough move to have to uproot them and have to go to a different city and start everything all over again."
"This will be it. After I'm done here, I believe I will be done playing football."
Allen started 24 of the 39 games he played at Georgia before declaring for the NFL draft following his junior season. He started all 13 games in 2008, finishing with 53 tackles, seven pass breakups and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Allen also closed out his college career as one of the elite kick returners in Georgia's history, ranking third all-time with 1,110 yards on 47 kickoff returns for a 23.6-yard average, which ranked fourth in school history.