Trae Waynes holds up well after being pressed into service


Trae Waynes’ debut as a cornerback came a little sooner than the Vikings hoped but despite being pressed into service ahead of schedule the rookie actually held up well in his first action against San Diego.

In fact, Waynes did more than just hold up well, he actually made a positive contribution to the Vikings’ strong defensive effort.

Waynes was forced to enter the game in the second quarter after starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes was knocked out in a collision with safety Andrew Sendejo.

There was good reason for Viking fans to be nervous when Waynes took the field, considering how badly Waynes struggled in his early efforts in preseason.

But Waynes quickly calmed any fears about his being overwhelmed by the moment when he came up and made this solid tackle on Danny Woodhead.

Taking down the shifty Woodhead in the open field is no easy task but Waynes had no problem staying in front of the receiver, grabbing on and pulling him down.

Later, Waynes demonstrated his run support ability by coming up to assist on another tackle of Woodhead. Anthony Barr gets him first and Waynes cleans up.

Tackling is one thing but the real area of concern for Waynes is coverage. How did he do in that area on Sunday?

The truth is that Waynes was not really challenged much in coverage by San Diego. Philip Rivers did try to go at him but with the Vikings bringing relentless heat on the QB, Rivers was unable to exploit Waynes or any of the other Vikings corners.

Waynes did have one shot at a big play in coverage when Rivers tried to hit Malcom Floyd who was matched up one-on-one with Waynes.

Waynes has good coverage on Floyd and Rivers’ pass is so high that Waynes is really the only one who has a shot to catch it.

The fact that Waynes was able to pick up this ball and get his hands on it is encouraging. Even though he didn’t finish the pick, at least he found the ball and made a play on it.

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Of course one game is one game and, like I said, with the Vikings pressuring Rivers so much there really wasn’t much chance for San Diego to expose Waynes.

It might be a different story next week in Denver if Waynes has to start in place of Rhodes. Denver has pretty good receivers and, oh yeah, that guy named Peyton Manning playing quarterback.

Naturally you have to anticipate that Waynes will experience his struggles along the way, but his first taste of action Sunday proved that he has a chance to be good.

So let’s hold off on that bust talk for the time being.

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