After Antoine Winfield got injured earlier this year and was placed on injured reserve by the Vikings, we speculated that because of his salary ($7 million), he might not be back with the Vikings next year, along with a bunch of other high-priced veterans.
Well, as it turns out, Winfield's salary for next year is going to be significantly less than that, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN. It appears that the injuries that have kept Winfield off of the field for most of the year have triggered a clause in his contract that will drop his 2012 salary from the original $7 million figure down to something in the much more manageable $3 million range. He can still make $7 million, but now that number is going to be largely based on incentives rather than just being a part of his base salary.
It was originally thought that the salary reduction would only be triggered if Winfield was moved into a nickel role rather than being a starter, but apparently the lack of snaps he's gotten this season has been enough to trigger the clause.
I'm not sure how far down the Vikings' list of priorities this moves the cornerback spot. When he's healthy, Winfield is still pretty damn good, and the injuries haven't been to his legs or anything like that, so if he's going to lose a step, it won't be because of the injuries. Then again, I don't know how much the Vikings need to be relying on a cornerback that's going to turn 35 just before the start of camp next season, either.
With this revelation, however, hopefully Winfield will be back with Minnesota next season. With the complete overhaul the secondary is likely going to get, it would be nice to have one solid, productive veteran leader back there that people can look towards to solidify things.