MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings, at long last, appear to have enough cornerback depth that they can be selective about how they use rookie cornerback Trae Waynes. During the Vikings' open organized team activities session Wednesday, the 11th overall pick in the draft saw most of his snaps with the second-team defense, despite the fact top cornerback Xavier Rhodes was sidelined.
That doesn't mean, however, that the Vikings are giving Waynes a light workload.
Coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings are trying to teach Waynes how they'd like him to play both as an outside cornerback and in the slot, and Waynes got some time in both of those areas Wednesday. The 6-foot-1 cornerback, who was lauded more for his long arms and physical technique than lateral quickness before the draft, would seem like a better fit outside than inside, and the guess here is he'll eventually wind up at left cornerback. But for now, the Vikings are trying to indoctrinate Waynes in the full scope of their defense.
"He’s still thinking, the alignments and a lot of detail stuff that he’s got to continue to improve at and there’s a lot of things he has to work at, but he is very sincere about trying to get better every day," Zimmer said. "He’s kind of a quiet kid. Kind of like [quarterback] Teddy [Bridgewater] was last year; the more comfortable he gets, the more assertive he will be in a lot of different ways."
The Vikings still appear to think of Captain Munnerlyn purely as a slot cornerback at this point, but even then, they still have Rhodes, Terence Newman and Josh Robinson to play outside while Waynes develops. There's a steep learning curve for rookie cornerbacks, and much like with Bridgewater last year, the Vikings have set up a system where Waynes can develop at his own pace. He's not going to be held back, but he's also not likely to be rushed.
"He’s got work to do, like all young guys do, like all of the guys do," Zimmer said. "He shows flashes of really good stuff."