The Vikings and the agent for Antoine Winfield continue to discuss a contract extension for the Pro Bowl cornerback and negotations are expected to heat up again on Monday. Ashanti Webb, who serves as Winfield’s agent, termed the dealings as “intense negotiations” in a text message on Saturday evening but declined to give a possible timetable for when an agreement might be reached.
In a phone interview, Webb elaborated on the subject. “We have talked very frequently and are both working very hard at it,” he said. “Usually with this much talking and negotiations it’s a good sign in a way because that’s how things get done. But we still have some ground we have to cover. … I would like to get this thing done. I know Antoine would like to get it done. But I can’t say at this point there is any frustration or I think it’s taken longer than I expected.”
Webb declined to get into any of the matters surrounding the potential contract, but did say, “I think we’re still pretty fluid. That’s the thing that is interesting. There are a couple of flexible ways to do it and it’s just coming to a common ground on which way we want to go about it.”
Winfield, who is scheduled to enter the final season of his contract in 2009 and will turn 32 in June, has been on spring break with his family in Jamaica in recent days but was due back in the Twin Cities late Saturday night. Webb said he did not know if Winfield would be at the Vikings offseason workout program when it begins Monday but made it clear that wasn’t a major issue.
“We haven’t discussed that but I’m pretty sure we may discuss that [Sunday],” Webb said. Much of the offseason workout program is voluntary and Vikings coach Brad Childress said in recent days that many players come and go during the course of the program. Winfield avoided the program all together a couple of years ago but that was over differences with Childress that were never made public. The two now have a good relationship and Childress has been one of the people pressing to get a contract extension done with Winfield.
Webb did say that it’s Winfield’s desire “100 percent” to finish his career with the Vikings. Signed as a free agent by the Vikings in 2004, Winfield made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last season. “He’s very passionate about,” finishing in Minnesota, Webb said. “He likes Minnesota, he loves his teammates. He feels like he’s had some twists and turns there but he’s excited about this season. That’s one thing he’s really stressed on me is he really wants to get this thing done so he can go into the season with a clear mind.”
The Vikings recently signed cornerback Cedric Griffin a five-year contract extension, continuing a trend of re-signing many of their own players.