Even though the Adrian Peterson story is dominating the news cycle here in the Minnesota Vikings' blogosphere. . .and with good reason. . .we can't throw away the 30 Day Challenge after just one day, so let's move on with Day Two.
Most of us have difficulty remembering a time where the Minnesota Vikings didn't have issues in the secondary. Some of the older fans among us will probably remember those days, but for most of us, the Vikings' defense has been represented by a strong front seven backed up by a not-so-great secondary. So, I'd expect quite a range of answers from folks on this one, as we discuss who our favorite Vikings' defensive back is.
For me, the choice is a relatively easy one, even though Harrison Smith is rapidly making his way up the charts. I'm going to say Antoine Winfield is my favorite Vikings' defensive back.
Winfield spent his first five NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, as he was taken by Buffalo in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of THE. . .dramatic pause. . .Ohio State University. Winfield was a member of the Bills until 2003, and the Vikings came calling that offseason to bring him to the purple. He spent nine seasons with the Vikings, playing with Minnesota from 2004 to 2012, and made the Pro Bowl three times. He was also named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of all time in 2010.
Although Winfield certainly wasn't lacking in coverage ability, his most well-known attribute was his tackling ability. When Antoine Winfield hit somebody, they stayed hit. . .quite an impressive feat for a guy that was listed at 5'9" and 180 pounds. He was one of the leaders on the Minnesota defense during his entire tenure with the team, and was undoubtedly the team's best defensive back the entire time he was here.
The Vikings' signing of Winfield gave me one of my first real "internet moments" as a fan. I can remember during the free agency process that offseason, jumping around to different websites and Vikings forums and wearing out the F5 key on the keyboard just in case there was an update. Word had come across the various wires that Winfield was getting ready to sign with the New York Jets, and there was disappointment everywhere. And then, suddenly, in true WWE-esque fashion. . .
BAH GAWD, KING, THAT'S RED MCCOMBS' PLANE! WHAT IN THE HELL IS HE DOING IN NEW JERSEY!? HE'S COME TO TAKE ANTOINE WINFIELD BACK TO MINNESOTA!
And that's exactly what happened. . .McCombs' private jet made a trip to New Jersey to pick up Winfield and his wife (who, apparently, wasn't crazy about her husband playing for the Jets) and brought him to Minnesota. A day or two later, there was a press conference to announce Winfield's signing. The interwebs were going crazy, and it really showed just how crazy the era of the constantly-on news cycle could end up being.
Antoine Winfield was definitely deserving of being named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, and he's my personal favorite defensive back from my time as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.
Who does everyone else have? There are plenty to choose from, of course. Have at it!