Antoine Winfield participated in most of Wednesday's practice and is looking forward to playing Sunday. This time, it didn't sound like "hopefully" playing or "we'll see what happens the rest of the week."
Winfield sounds determined that it's going to happen after missing the last four games due to a foot injury.
"It feels 100 times better. No issues. I took 100 percent of the reps with the first team (Wednesday) so I'm looking forward to getting out there on Sunday," he said.
Winfield practiced in a limited capacity last week, so taking first-team reps was progress. He was on the field before Sunday's game with the Seattle Seahawks, but he didn't play.
"I was close. Still felt a little pinch every time I broke, but I don't even feel that now," Winfield said. "I took every rep with the first team (Wednesday), but we'll see how it reacts (Thursday), whether it's sore or not. I'm looking forward to getting back out there."
Winfield said he was told after sustaining the injury against the Baltimore Ravens that it would take four to six weeks of treating. He's at the tail end of that timeline after missing four games with a bye week sprinkled in between.
The Vikings went 3-1 in the games he missed, with the loss coming the week after he was injured, when the Vikings traveled to Pittsburgh.
"The guys got out there and played well, got a big win for us. But me being a competitor, I want to get out there and play," he said. "It's been a long time since I've been out there, made some plays, hit some people. Definitely excited about that."
Winfield said there would be no "spot duty" for him. He plans on playing the whole game without limitations.
"I'm going to go out there and hopefully not have any issues and play up to the way I expect myself to play," he said. "Not get out there and be thinking about it. I haven't played football in six weeks. It's been a long time. That's what I'm doing this week, working on my technique and trying to fine tune everything."
The Vikings expect a lot of passing out of the Chicago Bears, despite the struggles of quarterback Jay Culter of late. Cutler has shown a propensity for throwing interceptions, but the Bears have also struggled with their running game in 2009 and the Vikings are coming off their best defensive performance against the run since the 2006 season.
Last week, the Vikings held the Seahawks to four yards rushing, a franchise low for Seattle. That will create interesting decisions for Chicago – run against a team that seems to be reaching its stride against the run or throw with a quarterback who has been prone to interceptions.
"He's a good player, just in a tough situation," Winfield said of Cutler. "I'm sure things haven't gone the way he would have liked, but he's going to continue to go out there and throw the football around. They are going to come in here and play us tough. You can throw the records out every time we play them. It's going to be a good game."
"… We expect them to come out here, they have some good wide receivers. They're going to throw the ball 40 or 50 times. I'm sure he's looking forward to having a good game. The last couple weeks haven't worked the way he would have liked, so we just need to go out there and execute and do the things that we do."
Winfield determined to play Sunday
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