Arguably the best safety in the Big Ten is done for the season after suffering a foot injury on Saturday.
Gophers star safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was injured in the first quarter of Minnesota's 42-13 loss to Maryland in the Big Ten opener, and unspecified foot injury will require season-ending surgery.
"We are heartbroken for Antoine," said head coach P.J Fleck in a statement. "Like Rodney Smith, I know he will keep his oar in the water, keep moving forward and will work tirelessly to return to the field next season."
Smith, the team's best offensive player and star running back, suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this season. Minnesota plans to submit a waiver for Smith and Winfield to grant each a sixth year of eligibility.
"We believe Antoine meets the waiver requirement for a sixth year of eligibility and we will file that waiver with the NCAA at the conclusion of the season," Fleck added.
Winfield starred in Minnesota's first two victories of the season, returning a punt for a touchdown against New Mexico State to earn Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week and sealing the win over Fresno State with an interception in the end zone.
He is the son of former Vikings star cornerback Antoine Winfield.