Send any Vikings-related questions to @Andrew_Krammer and I’ll answer a few every Friday.
Trae Waynes. Overall assessment after year 3? Has he lived up to the 1st rd selection? Still too soon to tell? 5th year option likely? Seems to have taken a huge step this season while facing a ton of qbs aiming at him as they are too afraid to go at XR. What are your thoughts?
— J. Miller (@jrm531) December 27, 2017
A: Trae Waynes has played well for the NFL's No. 1 defense in both yards (280.9) and points (16.1) allowed in Minnesota. He's been another efficient run defender for the Vikings and has continued to grow in coverage. Waynes is tied with teammate Xavier Rhodes with nine pass deflections, including two interceptions. He is targeted more often while quietly cutting out the penalties. Waynes has been flagged just once since the Vikings' last meeting with Chicago on Oct. 9. However, while being a stout run defender, he has missed six tackles in coverage,according to Pro Football Focus, which is 10th-most among cornerbacks. Still consider him likely to be under contract through 2019 when his option is expected to be picked up this spring. The move is also more palatable because of his 11th-overall draft position, lessening the cost by millions. Under the fifth-year options, players drafted in the top 10 are paid the top-10 average at their position. First-round picks taken outside the top 10 are paid the average between the third- and 25th-highest paid at their positions.
Has there ever been a player in the NFL who was voted 1st Team All Pro but didn’t get voted to the Pro Bowl?? #HitmanHarry If the Vikings get the bye, what will be the best wild card weekend matchup?
— William Eggert (@willeggert) December 27, 2017
A: Yes, in fact three first-team All-Pro selections last year were not voted onto the original Pro Bowl rosters by fans, coaches and fellow players. Only Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee eventually played in the game as an alternate for Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly. So Vikings safety Harrison Smith would not be the first to be named a first-team All-Pro, which would be the first of his career, after getting snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Titans tackle Jack Conklin and Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison were also left out of the Pro Bowl and then named first-team All-Pros after last season.
Do the Saints scare you if we have to face them in the playoffs?
— Roberto Gonzalez (@rgonzalez021991) December 27, 2017
A: Should the Saints win in Tampa Bay this weekend, and the Rams while resting starters lose to the 49ers, then New Orleans would be in line for a trip to Minnesota as the No. 3 seed if they also win in wild-card weekend. Thanks in large part to a couple rookies – cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running back Alvin Karama – the Saints look like a much different complement for quarterback Drew Brees than the team that lost 29-19 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 1. 'Scare' might be hyperbole for the NFL's No. 1 defense currently residing in Minnesota, but the Vikings would probably rather see Los Angeles again.