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Updated: November 15th, 2011 3:09pm
Antoine Winfield to undergo surgery; Benny Sapp expected to sign

Antoine Winfield to undergo surgery; Benny Sapp expected to sign

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- As expected, Antoine Winfield's season is over.

The Minnesota Vikings' veteran cornerback is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair the fractured collarbone he suffered in Monday's loss to Green Bay, coach Leslie Frazier said on Tuesday afternoon.

Winfield, 34, had missed the previous four games with a neck strain. He started on Monday but left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering the injury.

With Chris Cook on paid leave while awaiting trial on a felony domestic assault charge, the Vikings plan to look for help from the outside, Frazier said.

Benny Sapp, the eight-year veteran the Vikings traded to Miami for receiver Greg Camarillo in August 2010, was on his way to the Twin Cities on Tuesday and expected to meet with the team in the evening.

Sapp will be given a physical by the Vikings and if he passes the expectation is that he will be signed. Sapp was released by the Dolphins after their 38-24 loss to New England in Week 1.

The Patriots' Tom Brady threw for a team-record 517 yards in that game and Sapp was a frequent target of the quarterback, including on a 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker.

Sapp had two interceptions in 16 games (six starts) with Miami last season. He made a career-high seven starts with the Vikings in 2009 and played in all 16 games.

Rookie cornerback Brandon Burton, who hasn't played on defense this season, also could get more work.

"There will be a constant assessment of where we are with our secondary," Frazier said. "We're thinning out."

A 13-year veteran, Winfield has two years and $14.25 million remaining on the contract he had renegotiated in July 2009.

Frazier said he thought Winfield was injured as he tackled Packers tight end Jermichael Finley on a crossing route.

"(It) just jarred the shoulder to the ground and created the fracture," Frazier said. "It's disappointing for him. He was looking forward to finishing out the season and having a good season, good second half of the season. All of a sudden, season's over.

"That's unfortunate because he's a valuable part of what we do as a football team and for our defense as well. Very unfortunate for him and unfortunate for us."

Safety Husain Abdullah (concussion) and linebacker Erin Henderson (slight hamstring) are day to day, Frazier said. Long snapper Cullen Loeffler hurt a rotator cuff, probably won't practice on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated later in the week.

Starting right end Jared Allen is the team's backup long snapper. So, the Vikings would bring someone in if Loeffler can't go, Frazier said.

An X-ray on Christian Ponder's left (non-throwing) hand was negative. He has some soreness, Frazier said, but should be fine for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

Quick hit 

Frazier was asked about the decision to start rookie Christian Ballard at nose tackle over Remi Ayodele on Monday and whether that will continue. "We were looking at what Green Bay did offensively, all the multiple wide receiver sets and how they try to structure their offense," Frazier said. "We wanted to try to get another pass rusher on the field, as opposed to a run-stopping tackle like Remi is or like Fred (Evans) in those early down situations. When they go multiple wideouts, we want to just be able to get our best four rushers out there. At times it helped us. That was purely a game plan decision."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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