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Updated: October 5th, 2011 10:04pm
Antoine Winfield undergoes MRI on neck, could miss Sunday's game

Antoine Winfield undergoes MRI on neck, could miss Sunday's game

by Tom Pelissero
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The Minnesota Vikings continued to gather information late Wednesday night on cornerback Antoine Winfield's neck injury, which could keep the veteran out of Sunday's game against Arizona.

Winfield underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and the Pioneer Press reported he is expected to miss at least one game as a precaution.

Two NFL sources told on Wednesday night the Vikings had made no decision but hoped to know more about the nature and severity of the injury within the next day or two.

Winfield, 34, didn't miss any time in last weekend's loss at Kansas City and watched part of Wednesday's practice at Winter Park from the sideline. That would seem to lower the chances Winfield's injury is significant, but the Vikings know well neck problems can be tricky.

Safety Madieu Williams, who was released in July, suffered a neck injury in his first training camp with the Vikings in 2008 and never completely returned to form. In August, offensive lineman Scott Kooistra stayed in a preseason game with a neck injury that later landed him in the hospital, required surgery and may end his career.

Winfield's injury isn't that serious, one source said, but the veteran's status for Sunday at minimum is very much in doubt.

Losing Winfield for any extended stretch would be a significant blow for a Vikings team that is reeling at 0-4. Even in his 13th NFL season, he remains one of their top defensive players, playing outside in the base defense and covering the slot in nickel.

Before Winfield's injury was known, coach Leslie Frazier alluded on Wednesday morning to "a chance to take a look at Asher Allen this week" -- the logical backup plan in the nickel if Winfield can't go against the Cardinals. Chris Cook, who normally is the third cornerback in the nickel, would start in Winfield's spot at left cornerback opposite Cedric Griffin.

Winfield played all 16 games last season after hobbling through the 2009 season with a foot injury. He is one of the Vikings' highest-paid players, with a base salary of $6.75 million this season on a contract that runs through 2013.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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