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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Looking ahead: Attention turns to Trae Waynes at cornerback

By Andrew Krammer

Eighth of a position-by-position look at the Vikings with a focus on free agency, the draft and the 2016 season. We’ve also primed the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line and linebackers.

Cornerbacks

2015 playing time

Xavier Rhodes: 17 games, 94.7 percent
Terence Newman: 17 games, 89.9 percent
Captain Munnerlyn: 17 games, 66 percent
Trae Waynes: 16 games, 18.1 percent
Marcus Sherels: 17 games, 0.8 percent
Josh Robinson: 6 games, 0.6 percent
Jabari Price: Injured reserve

Upcoming free agents

Terence Newman, unrestricted free agent

Marcus Sherels, unrestricted free agent

Josh Robinson, unrestricted free agent

Noteworthy number

•194 — The experience drop off will be as large as possible when the Vikings make the transition from Terence Newman and his 195 career starts to last year’s first-round pick in Trae Waynes, who made just one start his rookie season. Even though head coach Mike Zimmer said he’s ‘not handing out jobs’ in January, the future could very well be now for his lengthy duo at cornerback between Waynes and Xavier Rhodes. After a bumpy introduction with three penalties in his first preseason game, Waynes drew just one flag in fewer than 200 defensive snaps in the regular season.

2016 salary cap, position rank

Munnerlyn: $4.58 million, 35th
Waynes: $2.94 million, 43rd
Rhodes: $2.48 million, 47th
Price: $615,455
Melvin White: $600,000

Quotable

Head coach Mike Zimmer on first-round pick Trae Waynes: “I think he has a better understanding of what we’re asking the corners. I think he understands he has to be tighter in coverage than what he was in the beginning. I think he has a better understanding of the techniques that are being played. He still has things he’s got to continue to work on. In this league, it’s not good enough to be close to your guy. You’ve got to deny your guy the football, and he doesn’t do that all the time.”

Potential market

Includes pending free agents Josh Norman, Prince Amukamara, Jeremy Lane, Jerraud Powers, William Gay, Leon Hall, Alan Ball, Adam Jones, Newman, Deshawn Shead, Patrick Robinson, Robinson, Sherels, Janoris Jenkins, Nolan Carroll and Morris Claiborne.

Draft

Like defensive line, which has been addressed with valuable picks in recent drafts, cornerback likely won’t top general manager Rick Spielman’s priority list. They’ve got two young first-round picks between Waynes and Rhodes, as well as a solid slot cornerback in his prime in Captain Munnerlyn. While they’ve got starting candidates, they currently only have five corners under contract for next season.

Bottom line

Having just wrapped up his 13th NFL season, Terence Newman hasn’t publicly stated whether or not he wants to play another season. After leading the Vikings with three interceptions in 17 starts, including one at safety, the Vikings would likely welcome Newman back if for nothing more than coaching and reliable depth. He turns 38 in September. Waynes will lead the competition for the left cornerback spot after mainly serving as a special teams cog as a rookie. Zimmer has said he still wants to see tighter coverage from Waynes, who admitted to learning the NFL boundary between physical and flagged last season. Rhodes had a rough start to 2015 before finding his stride late, which started with shadowing the Falcons’ Julio Jones in Week 12. Munnerlyn thrived in his second season with the Vikings, and enters the final year of his deal in 2016 on solid ground as the slot corner. The personnel could look much different behind those three. Newman’s playing future is uncertain, and he leads the three free agents including Marcus Sherels, who serves strictly as a punt returner, and Josh Robinson, who is likely moving on after being seldom used by this coaching staff.

The post Looking ahead: Attention turns to Trae Waynes at cornerback appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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