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Thursday, September 20, 2012
BBAO: Antoine Winfield speaks up

By Kevin Seifert

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Since signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2004, cornerback Antoine Winfield has addressed the team perhaps two or three times. One of them came Monday, a day after the Vikings allowed a game-winning drive to rookie Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in a 23-20 defeat.

Winfield recently endured the loss of his brother, who was murdered earlier this month, but he told reporters Wednesday that his 10-minute speech was about football. Winfield wouldn't reveal the specifics but said: "I only stand up and say stuff when it's coming from the heart and I think it needs to be said. … I'm only playing this game because I want to win a championship. It's not about the money anymore. I still love to play. I think I'm still productive, I still play at a high level. That's why I'm here."

Players, coaches and even general manager Rick Spielman were in the room for Winfield's talk.

At 1-1, the Vikings haven't exactly performed below the modest expectations most people have for them. Perhaps that was part of Winfield's point, and it's possible he wanted to get some thoughts on the record before this season got away. Regardless, it's worth noting when a longtime and highly respected veteran stands up and gives a speech to the team at the start of Week 3.

Continuing around the NFC North: