Quick Take: Vikings 20, Panthers 10

September, 21, 2008
9/21/08
6:08
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

I'm sure much of the postgame discussion in Minnesota will center around quarterback Gus Frerotte, whose first start of the season coincided with the Vikings' first win.

Frerotte did exactly what the Vikings needed him to do: Show off his arm, put a few downfield plays on tape and avoid any numbskull plays. But for my money, everyone should be talking about cornerback Antoine Winfield -- on several levels.

It was Winfield who breathed life into the team with a second-quarter touchdown, squaring the game at 10 heading into halftime. The play -- Winfield blitzed from the edge, sacked quarterback Jake Delhomme, forced a fumble, recovered the fumble and returned it 19 yards for the score -- was the type of game-changer the Vikings need from their veteran defense.

And it was more than a little ironic that it came in the first game after coach Brad Childress benched quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Winfield has been one of Childress' chief public skeptics over the years, believing the Vikings' otherwise talented roster was but a veteran quarterback away from playoff contention.

For the first time in two-plus years, that vision came to fruition -- thanks in no small part to Antoine Winfield.

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