What if Trae Waynes doesn’t start the regular-season opener, which we know he won’t?
What if Trae Waynes isn’t the No. 3 cornerback initially, which is a distinct possibility considering his opponent in that particular battle is Captain Munnerlyn, a veteran slot corner whose on-field participation enables starter Terence Newman to stay at his more natural outside position?
Let’s say Waynes is deemed the fourth cornerback on the roster on the eve of Sept. 14. Do we:
– Sprint toward Twitter — flapping our arms around like we’re being chased by Ndamukong Suh — so we can fire off 140 characters worth of Dimitrius Underwood draft bust comparisons? Then move on to our 2016 Mock Draft while burying Waynes’ career forever and ever, amen?
– Wait a smidge of time to see how the Vikings actually use and develop the 11th overall draft pick?
– Wonder how Leslie Frazier would have enjoyed having Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman, Captain Munnerlyn and a rookie first-round draft pick as his top four corners back when his injury-riddled team was dragging Benny Sapp off the street in 2011?
I’ll lean toward the latter two because, well, it’s a team game, and each team is allowed to use 31 players beyond the 22 starters. And, typically, they also have to reach beyond those 31 players to make it through an NFL season.
We all seem to buy the cliche that you can’t have enough corners. Perhaps that has something to do with the yearly beatings that Aaron Rodgers and his waves of receivers deliver upside the purple helmets. But either way, the Vikings are building some depth at corner. Take a moment to appreciate it.
It’s not like Waynes will just be sitting there every Sunday early in his rookie season. Mike Zimmer has been to a few of these rodeos, so he’ll find ways to use Waynes in a manner designed to help the team while developing a first-round talent.
I asked Zimmer if he’d split the nickel corner job during the regular season, particularly if there’s a young talent that needs to play. And, remember, there are times when the Vikings use six defensive backs in their dime package.
“Well, we’ve had different packages where we’ve tried to get guys in the game, as far as a dime package, a nickel package,” Zimmer said. “We had one we used to call 45-package. So, yeah.”