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Saturday, February 25, 2012
Frazier won't move Winfield to safety

By Kevin Seifert

INDIANAPOLIS -- On Thursday, we noted that the Minnesota Vikings have had some internal discussions about moving veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield to safety. General manager Rick Spielman said the decision ultimately lies with the coaching staff, and so it's worth noting that coach Leslie Frazier put the kibosh on that idea during a discussion with reporters here at the NFL combine.

Frazier stopped short of saying that Winfield will be a starting cornerback for him in 2012, but he did say: "I still see him playing the nickel corner, maybe some outside. I know I've been asked before about maybe safety. I don't really see him at that position but still playing the nickel corner, playing the corner position."

Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted that the Vikings have also had internal discussions about moving cornerback Cedric Griffin to safety. Griffin has appeared to be a candidate for release before free agency begins March 13, but Frazier said the team has made no decisions on his future.

Ultimately, it appears the Vikings are spending a good portion of their time at the combine focusing on so-called "tweener" safety/cornerbacks who provide depth at both positions in the NFL. Typically, those players are tall college cornerbacks who don't have the coverage skills to play cornerback at this level but would be above-average pass defenders relative to the safety position.

Current Vikings safety Mistral Raymond fell into that category during the 2011 draft. According to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Insider, the top two safeties available in this draft are Alabama's Mark Barron and Notre Dame's Harrison Smith.