A fractured foot in October sidelined Winfield for six games and severely limited him the rest of the season.
And now …
"Everything is completely 100 percent. I have no lingering injury – running, cutting, taking my reps out here today, I feel pretty good," Winfield said.
All it took was a few weeks of rest after the season, an injection to reduce the inflammation and the rest was nature's healing. By minicamp in June he was back to normal.
By Saturday night, he was intercepting two passes and back to his playmaking self, but before that practice Winfield reflected on the frustration of his 2009 season.
"It was tough. We were having such a great season. Of course I wanted to be out there and join in, but it was tough sitting on the sideline and watching," he said. "I was happy for the guys that got out there and got a chance to get some experience. Hopefully we'll get back to where we were last season."
The injury was painful enough that it affected him in the playoffs and he wasn't surprised to see other teams targeting him when he was far less than 100 percent.
"Of course. That's the game. You see a weakness out there and of course you're going to attack it. I was not close to 100 percent," he said.
"I really couldn't run or cut. I did it in October, so I couldn't do any lower-body exercises, I couldn't run. I didn't have any conditioning or any strength, so late in games my legs were completely gone."
Now it's the cornerback on the other side of the field, Cedric Griffin, that is sidelined to start the 2010 season after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the NFC Championship Game.
That means the Vikings depth at the position will be tested, but Winfield likes the prospects he sees waiting to get their chance. Among the group is veteran acquisition Lito Sheppard, second-year player Asher Allen and rookie second-round pick Chris Cook.
"He's going to be a really good player," Winfield said of Cook. "He has great size, great speed. He knows the defense already. He's a competitor. I'm looking forward to playing with him this season."
Allen appears to have the best chance to really push Sheppard for the starting role if Griffin isn't ready by the regular-season opener on Sept. 9, and Winfield has been impressed with Allen's progress over the last year.
"Looking at Asher, he's improved so much. Just watching him, watching tape in the offseason, even working out here (Saturday), he's really improved," Winfield said.
No matter who gains the starting role, the depth is benefitting from the all the offseason additions.
"It's great competition, but that's great depth. The person that loses, he'll be the third or fourth corner," Winfield said. "Of course, in this league, you know that injuries happen, so we'll have a guy that can get out there with experience."
SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.