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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Winfield can't cover Austin

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas -- The Vikings pay Antoine Winfield like a shutdown cornerback. He hasn't performed like one this season.

A foot injury sidelined Winfield for six games and has hampered his performance for most of the season. Frankly, he's been a liability for Minnesota.

Opponents have completed 60 percent of their passes thrown at Winfield this season. They have averaged 10.3 yards per attempt on those 55 throws, scoring six touchdowns. Those are alarmingly awful numbers for a cornerback.

"I need to get right," Winfield told reporters after allowing the game-winning touchdown to Chicago's Devin Aromashodu a couple of weeks ago. "I don't know what it is. I'm giving up too many big plays, missing tackles. I need to get right."

Carolina's Steve Smith had nine catches for 157 yards and a touchdown against Winfield. Aromashodu had 150 yards -- more than half his season total -- on seven catches the next week.

Winfield was limited to nickel situations in the regular-season finale, with the hope that some rest would help him get healthy for the playoffs.

Healthy or not, Winfield will have a tough time keeping up with Miles Austin.