Frankly, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer disagrees with his defensive coordinator.
Last week, while talking with reporters, defensive coordinator George Edwards said the goal was to have rookie cornerback Trae Waynes starting by the regular season opener.
“I read that and I didn’t agree with what George said, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said Monday. “I think it was interpreted incorrectly.”
Zimmer said the goal is to coach every quality player with the goal that he will be a starter. But it is not realistic that Waynes will start ahead of veteran Terence Newman when the Vikings open the season against San Francisco.
It is more likely that Waynes might earn a spot as the top extra cornerback in nickel situations. But even that isn’t a lock, considering the Vikings went back to using Captain Munnerlyn in that situation in Saturday’s victory in Dallas.
Still, Zimmer said, Waynes played well in Dallas. “Waynes had his best game this last week,” Zimmer said. “He was in position the entire night. Not sure his guy caught any balls on him. His technique was much better this last time. I thought he was in position much better. There were some things we had to talk about on the sidelines. But, for the most part, I thought this was by far his best performance.”
Asked if he would consider splitting the nickel position between two players once the regular season started, Zimmer said he would.
Other highlights from Zimmer’s Monday news conference:
The team still needs to make three moves, and Zimmer said they would be announced later today. But, after having made many of those moves Sunday, Zimmer said the decisions on the cuts are much more difficult than last year.
“No question,” he said. “[Sunday] was a hard day. Joe Banyard is a terrific kid. He busted his rear end around here, had some good runs last year. Josh Kaddu, just a great kid. … Yes, we have a deeper football team than we did a year ago.”
Zimmer said that, in the end, he thinks having five preseason games has been a positive thing. It has allowed the coaches to, in Zimmer’s word, tinker with different looks at some positions.
“Like with the linebacker position,” Zimmer said. “We were able to look at that a little more.”’
That meant looking at a few players at the middle linebacker spot and look at different combinations in the nickel package; Zimmer said Gerald Hodges looked very good at middle linebacker Saturday and rookie Eric Kendricks looked good in the nickel package.
“And we have been able to maybe not play the guys as long in a bunch of games,” Zimmer said. “I think that helped us. We’ve moved guys around; this week we had [Brian Robison] inside a little bit.”
Perhaps it was faint praise, but Zimmer was asked about Cordarrelle Patterson in the wake of Patterson’s 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. “Last week was a better week for him, even though he didn’t have any catches, than the week before,” Zimmer said. “Just another guy we can use.”
Zimmer wouldn’t say how much, if any, the starters would play in the preseason finale. “The guys who need to play will play,” he said.
The Vikings are at Tennessee at 7 p.m. Thursday.