EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Antoine Winfield flashed his typical smile while walking off the Minnesota Vikings' practice field at Winter Park last week, seemingly happy to be back on the field after missing the end of last year due to a broken collarbone.
Winfield's return to field for Minnesota is a bit earlier this season, but not because of any injury. The 5-foot-9 cornerback, who turns 35 this month, admittedly has often passed on the voluntary portion of the Vikings' offseason. Like many other veteran players, Winfield would do much of his offseason training at home, before coming north for mandatory minicamp and training camp.
Things have changed though. Winfield and other veterans are in town, making the most of the offseason and trying to change the direction of a team that has faded from the NFL spotlight.
Winfield also had other reasons to come to Minnesota early.
"This is year 14 for me; I need the work too," Winfield said. "It's hard to stay away and stay in shape and go ag...