There are times when a golden opportunity gets squandered.
It would appear the heat and humidity Wednesday in Cincinnati took a toll on the chance for Minnesota Vikings second-year cornerback Trae Waynes to make a bold statement about his chances of living up to his first-round draft status as the 11th pick in the 2015 draft.
As a rookie, Waynes got pushed down by Terence Newman, who was well-versed in the Mike Zimmer defense and came into training camp with a leg up on the talented rookie. A year later, Newman still has the skill to hold onto his starting job, but, in his 14th season and momentarily shelved by injury, an opportunity was created for Waynes.
Newman was one of 10 players who didn’t make the trip to Cincinnati for the shared practices and Friday’s preseason opening game. Because of the scenario that is almost chiseled in granite, it was obvious that Newman wasn’t going to see much action in the game Friday night anyways.
If the Vikings defense gets a three-and-out, the starters are likely done for the night. They take on a “we have nothing more to prove” swagger that offenses do in Preseason Week 1 when they drive down the field for a touchdown. It’s a small body of work worth preserving.
Take off yours pads, boys.
In a best-case scenario, Andy “Ginga Ninja” Dalton tries to squeeze a third-down pass in Waynes’ direction if he plays Friday and Waynes could have made a play, given the “Oh, Hell No!” reaction qualities defensive backs do and head to the sidelines with a 1-0 lead over Newman. The impression Waynes was going to make was going to come on Wednesday and Thursday, not on a Friday snap-count that would be limited under the bright lights.
It didn’t happen.
Waynes left the practice field with a heat-related illness Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune, replaced by Jabari Price – who finished out the session. If anyone earned checkmarks in his favor Wednesday, it was Price, not Waynes.
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Hydration may allow Waynes to make some critical positive points Thursday in the final shared practice the Vikings and Bengals have today.
If not, it may be a critical missed opportunity for the Waynes Era to begin in Minnesota.