Best friends Trae Waynes and Melvin Gordon will extend their friendly rivalry to the NFL on Sunday when the Vikings host the San Diego Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium.
The two Kenosha, Wis., natives were first-round draft picks in 2015 after standout careers in the Big Ten and successful prep careers on the same team at Bradford High School. Waynes, a cornerback out of Michigan State, was selected 11th overall by the Vikings. Gordon, the Heisman Trophy finalist out of Wisconsin, was selected 15th overall by the San Diego Chargers.
“It will be great; something we always dreamed about,” Waynes said on Wednesday at Winter Park. “It started from high school and went to college and now here.
“I’m out here doing my job just like he is and helping our team win.”
Waynes’ role has been limited to special teams throughout the first two weeks of the season, where Gordon has been a big part of the Chargers’ run game. Gordon has 30 carries for 139 yards in two games for San Diego. He also has four catches for 26 yards.
“It will be exciting. I’ve been waiting for it for a while now to go up against him,” Gordon said on a conference call Wednesday. “Hopefully he’s in [the game] and we get to compete against each other.”
It’s been a couple years since the friends faced off on the field. They only met three times in Big Ten play early in their college careers and were in limited roles.
“We haven’t really gone up against each other since high school,” Waynes said. “I tackled him and he made me miss, back and forth.”
Waynes said he expects a heavy dose of Kenosha in the stands for Sunday’s game.
“I couldn’t even tell you [how many will be there],” he said. “I have people I don’t even talk to telling me they’re coming. I can just imagine, a lot.”
Gordon is familiar with TCF Bank Stadium after four seasons with the Gophers’ rival Wisconsin.
“I remember how much I hated Minnesota and the big fight at the end [of the 2013 game],” he said with a laugh.
He rushed for 12 carries in 69 yards in Wisconsin’s 20-7 win at TCF Bank Stadium.