Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

Trae Waynes caps quiet rookie season with first interception

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Right place, right time.

Trae Waynes wrapped his arms around a tipped football Sunday to haul in his first career interception, in what turned out to be the final game of his rookie season. Waynes stepped in for an injured Terence Newman, who left during the game with an ankle injury, and the rookie picked off Russell Wilson’s deflected pass to set up a Vikings field goal in an eventual 10-9 to the Seahawks.

That’s the high point of Waynes’ first year in the NFL. The 11th overall pick in this year’s draft was used more often on special teams than on defense this year, in part because Newman, 37, was so useful as a cornerback opposite Xavier Rhodes.

Including Sunday’s playoff game, Waynes played 214 snaps on defense for the Vikings this year, compared with 232 on special teams. He played a season-high 61 snaps in Minnesota’s Week 12 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and outside of that game he was just a part-time player and special teams contributor.

Many outside observers expected a player taken so early in the draft to have more of an impact on the defense, but Waynes said he doesn’t pay attention to external expectations and also said he’s happy with the way things have played out so far.

“I didn’t know what to really expect, just like every other player,” Waynes said about his expectations when he was drafted. “They don’t really know the future. I’m happy with the situation I was in, able to learn from the guys on the team that have been in the league for a while so I think it worked out great.”

He said he thinks he’s earned the trust of the coaching staff, and that if he’s asked to step into a starting role next year, he could handle it. Xavier Rhodes is a fixture for the Vikings on defense, and nickelback Captain Munnerlyn has one year left on his three-year deal, but Newman will be a free agent this offseason. So the Vikings could have a changing cast of characters in the defensive secondary.

After a year of adapting to the league and learning from, among others, heralded defensive teacher Mike Zimmer, Waynes could very well be in a position to earn a starting job with the 2016 Vikings. That’s certainly the base level of expectations that comes with a draft pick just outside the top-10.

Ask Waynes about outside expectations, though, and he’s not interested in having the conversation.

“If you paid attention to the media stuff it was annoying because people got expectations on the outside that don’t really know what’s going on on the inside. So there’s a lot of negative things,” Waynes said.

“I don’t really pay attention to that stuff so it really doesn’t affect me … But I thought it was funny how on social media [Sunday] some guy was like ‘I retract all the negative things I said about you. You’re a hell of a player.’”

Waynes says he just shrugged it off because “at the end of the day, outsiders’ opinions don’t matter, it’s about who’s in this locker room and the coaching staff.”

What’s the biggest thing he learned about pro football this season?

“It’s kind of hard to say just because I learned so much, especially from guys like [Newman], you know, he’s been in the league so long, so the knowledge he had is just a great opportunity for me, and I was fortunate enough for him to be able to share a lot of it with me,” Waynes said.

“I had the luxury of having the guys on the team like Terence, Cap, Xav, the rest of the guys and they helped me progress week by week and get better,” Waynes said. “I owe a lot of those guys credit for some of the things I did on the field.”

The post Trae Waynes caps quiet rookie season with first interception appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>