EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Vikings locker room will reportedly lose a respected veteran voice as sources say cornerback Antoine Winfield has been given his walking papers.
General manager Rick Spielman confirmed Tuesday the release of the popular Winfield, whose hard-hitting style, extensive experience and exceptional tackling ability made him the soul of the team's defense for the last nine seasons.
Spielman declined to be specific but said the Vikings want to re-sign the 35-year-old if they can. Spielman said he spoke with the 15-year veteran and had "a very good conversation."
Winfield's playing time was reduced in 2012 to preserve his health, but he had one of the most productive seasons of his career with 11 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 13 passes defended. He was due a $7.25 million salary in 2013.
Wide receiver is cited as the team's biggest need after the trade of All-Pro Percy Harvin.
It is apparently not the year to be a veteran corner in the NFL. Winfield joins Charles Woodson, DeAngelo Hall and others as high-priced, long-in-the-tooth corners who are now looking for work.
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