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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Mankato, MN - Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator Alan Williams is joining the team this season after spending ten seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. In the few months that he has spent in Minnesota he has apparently adopted two strategies familiar to Minnesota Sports teams and today he shared he plans to bring implement them within the Vikings defense.
Firstly, Williams shared that he is looking to create enough depth on the defensive side of the ball to cycle defensive players similar to a "hockey lineup." The goal here is to keep players fresh and going hard out on the football field.
The second sporting tactic that Williams plans to implement is familiar to fans of the Minnesota Twins. He plans to instiall a a 'pitch count' on Antoine Winfield's snaps.
After Tuesday morning's walkthrough, Williams said that Antoine Winfield is going to be on a "pitch count."
With 175 games under his belt, the 35-year old cornerback is entering his 9th season with the Minnesota Vikings. After he missed 11 games last season due to injury, the Vikings adopted this 'pitch count' (snap count) method with the idea of keeping one of their most valuable assets on defense healthy and in the picture.
"We'll take some of the workload off of Antoine and put some of it on those [young] guys," Williams said. "Antoine is a technician and but the bodies not going to stay young forever. He can rely on his years of experience to play and play well. We realize that there are only so many reps that a body has so we want to be smart about how we use him and how we play him."
While Williams may see a need to protect the number of reps remaining in Winfield's body, Winfield may argue against the necessity of this plan.
"I don't think anybody's told him that [he's getting old]," Williams said of Winfield. "I don't know if he's aware of that. You'll have to check with him to see if he's aware that he's getting older. I looked at yesterday's practice and there's nothing that says that he's slowing down, or wearing out or whatever verbiage you want to use with that."
Even if Winfield willfully accepts Williams' enforced 'pitch count', the plan itself largely relies on the learning curve of the younger and newer members of the secondary. Having proven little to date, Chris Cook, Chris Carr and Josh Robinson are now on the spot
"[It all depends on] how fast our young guys come along," Williams added Tuesday.
Despite his rising age, Winfield reported to camp last week in pristine health and has been running all over the field as if he were one of the younger players. With the leadership and high skill level that he offers, the plan to keep Winfield on limited snaps assures that he will be around to have an impact late in the season.
"I'd like to have him on the field all the time," Williams said in closing. "Ultimately what we want to do is play well and then play late in December, January and finally into February."
Winfield is looking to add to his 826 career tackles and 24 interceptions as the Vikings rebound from two straight losing seasons.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings' updates and breaking Vikings' news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN