Winfield optimistic about playing Packers

Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield was the subject of several injury-related reports Sunday, but he said his goal is to play Sunday against the Packers. Of course, we know the hype that is coming for that game.

Reports circulated Sunday that the Vikings will be without Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield for four to six weeks because of an injury to his right foot. Winfield, however, wasn't buying that after sitting out the Vikings' 27-17 loss to the Steelers, saying he is day-to-day.

That might have been a bit optimistic, considering Winfield continues to wear a walking boot on the foot. He suffered the injury Oct. 18 in the first half against Baltimore and missed Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.

"It feels a lot better," Winfield said. "I was on crutches (until Friday). Now I'm in the boot. I'm walking on it and not feeling any pain, so my goal is to get back out here and play against the Packers."

Winfield's injury did have a bit of good timing to it because the Vikings will have their bye week following this Sunday's game against the Packers in Green Bay.

There is little doubt opposing quarterbacks will go after Winfield's replacements. Minnesota used Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah and rookie Asher Allen at various times in different defensive packages, with Sapp or Paymah playing in Winfield's spot at the left corner.

Winfield, who is in his 11th season, was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last season and was sixth on the Vikings with 30 tackles, one interception and six pass breakups through the first six games.

The matchup with the Packers gets that much more difficult with Donald Driver and/or Greg Jennings going against Sapp or Paymah at times.

That game also will feature the much-anticipated return of Brett Favre to Lambeau Field. Favre threw for three touchdowns and 271 yards Oct. 5 in leading the Vikings to a 30-23 victory over the Packers at the Metrodome, but this game stands to have even more meaning because of the venue.

Favre played 16 seasons at Lambeau and helped lead the Packers franchise back to relevance. That was before his messy divorce with general manager Ted Thompson led to Favre being traded to the New York Jets in the summer of 2008.

Favre is likely to play down the significance of this game during the week, but that's to be expected. He did the same leading up to the Oct. 5 game but later admitted that he was extremely nervous beforehand.

One of the most interesting factors will be to see the reaction Favre gets from Packers fans. Some in Green Bay remain extremely loyal to Favre, but plenty of others are upset that he would have ever considered playing for the Vikings.

Favre, for one, won't be buying into the hype.

"We need a win," he said. "They're going to say the same thing. My career with Green Bay speaks for itself, and the games I played in Lambeau Field, it's a special place, and that won't change. Now, for three hours I'll be on the other side. Do I know what that will feel like? I have no idea, because I've never been on the other side.

"But I know our team needs a win and I know it'll be a tough place to play because it always is. It will make for a good story this week — Favre going back — but it's really about our team. That's what I'm focused on. I'm just glad that playing those guys at least once is over and done with and we can get on with it."

LINEUP WATCH: With Bernard Berrian suffering a leg injury that kept him out of the second half on Sunday, veteran wide receiver Greg Lewis saw added snaps and could see expanded playing time at Green Bay if Berrian is unable to go.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 - Return touchdowns of 75-plus yards in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game between the Vikings and Steelers. That is an NFL first.


  • WR Percy Harvin took another hard hit on his left shoulder Sunday but was able to continue. Harvin hurt the shoulder against the Rams in Week 5 at St. Louis and has aggravated it in each of the past two games.

  • WR Jaymar Johnson caught his first career pass Sunday, a 9-yard reception from Brett Favre. Johnson has mainly been used on punt returns this season.

  • RB Adrian Peterson was held to 69 yards on 18 carries against the Steelers, the fifth time this season he has been held under 100 yards by an opposing defense.

  • WR Darius Reynaud missed a fourth consecutive game because of a hamstring injury suffered in Week 3 against San Francisco.

  • WR Sidney Rice had a career-high 11 receptions against the Steelers for 136 yards. It was Rice's second straight 100-yard receiving game after he notched the first of his career Oct. 18 with 176 yards against Baltimore.

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