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Photo - Aj Mansour (KFAN)
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - As the week leading up to the Wild Card Playoff game in Green Bay rolls on, questions surrounding the status of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield and his fractured hand will continue to be one of the many hot topics.
Winfield, who fractured his hand in week sixteen's game against the Houston Texans tried to give it a go last week against the Packers but had to bow up around halftime due to excruciating pain and swelling that would not allow him to continue effectively in the second-half.
To say the Vikings defense struggled without Winfield in there would be an understatement. With Aaron Rodgers picking on rookie Josh Robinson and first-year Viking A.J. Jefferson, the defense yielded 24 points in the second-half including 262 yards passing and three touchdowns via aerial attack.
"Antoine Winfield is a guy that we are looking at the most [this week] to see where he is," head coach Leslie Frazier said on Tuesday. "He is a vital part of what we do on defense."
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said today that he waits until his players and trainers tell him whether or not they are ready to take the field on any given week before making any personnel decisions. Right now, they are experimenting with a multitude of combinations to fill any void that Winfield's injury may leave. Asked to make a prediction about whether we would see Winfield or not this weekend in Green Bay, Williams said "I don't have any doubt [that he will try]."
If Winfield were unable to play or was forced to withdraw, Williams says "It's next man up."
"If he can't go at some point, the next guy will go in and we'll keep playing," Williams said. "That's why we practice multiple lineups so when one guys goes out, the next guy feels good about going in and playing winning football."
Winfield will likely be a game time decision and his status will ultimately hinge on how much pain he feels able to tolerate.