The Minnesota Vikings certainly struggled a lot this past season, even on defense, which was supposed to be a strength of the team. Off-the-field issues with Chris Cook and other injuries had their secondary letting the team down with stunning regularity. The linebackers and defensive line, led by Chad Greenway and Jared Allen, performed extremely well, but the defensive backfield was unable to get traction.
That being said, there is some relief in sight, providing said relief isn't over-the-hill and still has something left in him. According to Fox Sports North, cornerback Antoine Winfield plans to play out the remainder of his contract, which includes two years, and then retire at the end of it. Winfield only played five games in 2011, due to a broken collar bone. It's the lowest amount of games he's played in a single season in his 13-year career.
He's got two years remaining on a five-year, $36 million deal that was signed in 2009. He'll be 36 years-old at the end of his contract, and nobody really knows how he'll look when coming back from this injury. He wants to play, and more than that, he wants to start at one of the corner spots, as opposed to a move to safety. The Vikings will almost certainly welcome him back and this is good news, but again, that's all dependent on how he looks returning from his injury.
Minnesota allowed a league-high 34 touchdowns through the air, the second-highest completion rate and were bottom of the league in interceptions. Winfield has been the key contributor and the heart and soul of the defense since coming to the team in 2004.