Trae Waynes: Mike Zimmer doesn’t sound too concerned after rough start


Viking fans seemed very concerned about cornerback Trae Waynes after his shaky three-penalty performance in Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game, but head coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t appear to share the fanbase’s worries about his rookie corner.

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Speaking to the press after the Vikings’ 14-3 preseason-opening victory over the Steelers, Zimmer explained his decision to leave Waynes on the field for the entire game and sounded halfway pleased with how the first round draft pick comported himself in spite of his glaring mistakes (via

"Part of the thing that I want to do is not take him out. I want to find out what kind of toughness he had. When things happen like that, you get a couple penalties on you, how are you going to fight back, how are you going to respond, and I thought he did a nice job with those things. He’s just got to learn some of the technical things about the NFL."

Besides the three penalties, Waynes was burned hard on a couple of occasions when he seemed to have trouble with his backpedal in off-coverage. NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth noted that Waynes often depends too much on using his recovery speed to make up for mistakes in technique.

The #1 thing Trae Waynes learned Sunday night is that when you’re a cornerback, you’re out there on an island and everyone can see your screw ups. That’s why cornerbacks tend to develop into crazy guys with huge chips on their shoulders.

But as we learned with Xavier Rhodes, early struggles are going to happen with cornerbacks and with good coaching that can get cleaned up. Trae Waynes has plenty of time to get his problems corrected and he has the right man coaching him in Mike Zimmer.

Of course even Zimmer is not a miracle worker and it’s possible that Waynes is destined to be a bust. But we’re a long way from determining that. Let’s see the kid play a few more games before we call out Rick Spielman for squandering yet another first round pick.

Next: Mick Tingelhoff enters Hall of Fame

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