CINCINNATI – Second-year cornerback Trae Waynes made a fine individual play to break up a deep ball intended for Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd on Friday night. But his defense of short, quick-hitting throws frustrated his head coach.
With veteran corner Terence Newman left behind in the Twin Cities to get treatment for an undisclosed injury, the 2015 first-round pick got the start at left cornerback and played the entire first half in a 17-16 win over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Waynes made four tackles and had one pass break-up on the deep ball to Boyd. He was targeted in coverage six times and allowed four receptions for 46 yards.
Three of those completions came when Waynes opted to line up in off-coverage instead of pressing receivers on the line. The Bengals quickly fired the ball out to wideouts on those plays and they were able to gain 8 or 9 yards before Waynes made a tackle.
“I thought he did some good things,” coach Mike Zimmer said after the win. “I was a little disappointed. … He lines up about 9 yards deep and they catch a stop route on him and [then] it’s third-and-1. If balls are going to be caught on you, they need to be contested.”
Waynes, who got overheated Wednesday and missed the majority of that afternoon’s joint practice with the Bengals, said he understood Zimmer’s criticism.
“I’ve just got to play technique better and trust in the coaching,” Waynes said.
Walsh hits 51-yard FG
For the first time since the heartbreaking playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January, Blair Walsh lined up for a field-goal attempt in a game, albeit an exhibition. On the final snap of the first half and with the score tied at 7-7, Walsh made a kick from 51 yards out.
“It was nice to actually go out there and get a long attempt like that,” Walsh said. “We had good execution. I didn’t hit it the greatest, but I hit it good enough to make it.”
Walsh, who had a strong training camp, hit both of his 33-yard extra-point tries, too.
When the first-team offense initially went three-wide against the Bengals, it was not top pick Laquon Treadwell or former first-rounder Cordarrelle Patterson who lined up next to Stefon Diggs and Charles Johnson. It was Adam Thielen.
Thielen caught only one pass, but it was an impressive third-down grab over the middle for 22 yards and a first down that set up the game’s first touchdown.
“The thing Adam does is he cherishes this opportunity,” quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said Thursday. “He works extremely hard, and he’s eager to be great.”
As expected, All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson did not play in the preseason opener. But Zimmer felt the carries he got in this week’s joint practices were beneficial.
“They were thumping him pretty good,” Zimmer said. “I thought it was good.”
Jerick McKinnon got the start in Peterson’s place and rushed for 14 yards on five carries.
Fusco sits, too
Right guard Brandon Fusco, who sat out Thursday’s practice, did not suit up Friday night either. So the starting offensive line, from left to right, was Matt Kalil, Alex Boone, John Sullivan, Joe Berger and Andre Smith.
Also inactive against the Bengals were linebackers Eric Kendricks, Edmond Robinson and Brandon Watts; wide receiver Jarius Wright; cornerbacks Melvin White and Marcus Sherels; and defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd and Scott Crichton.
Patterson also did not play because he is still working his way back from a shoulder injury. Former Gopher Troy Stoudermire handled kickoff return duties in addition to returning punts with Sherels still back in the Twin Cities.
Andrew Sendejo started at safety next to Harrison Smith. … Treadwell had four catches for 41 yards in his unofficial Vikings debut. … Tight end Kyle Rudolph, a Cincinnati native, was held without a catch in his first professional game in his hometown.