Minnesota Vikings CB Trae Waynes stays strong in up-and-down night

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes had a lot of things going against him throughout Sunday's game, but he was able to step up and make a play when his team needed him most.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes had one up-and-down night against the Green Bay Packers.

He looked good early on, playing with physicality and getting under receivers’ skins a little bit. Things took a turn for the worse for him, though, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers started targeting him more often.

Rodgers was able to complete multiple passes to whichever receiver Waynes was covering, and the young cornerback was also called for pass interference and holding penalties. Things did not seem to be going his way for a majority of the night, but he was able to pull things together when he needed to most and come down with an interception with 1:50 left in the game.

It was a play that helped propel his team to a 17-14 victory over the Packers and his teammates weren’t all that surprised that he was able to bounce back so well.

“I don’t know how tough a night it was,” said veteran linebacker Chad Greenway. “Yeah, they threw a bunch of balls (his way) but as far as looking at the coverage, there were a couple of calls that were against him that were questionable and you look at how he’s playing and the personnel he’s playing against and the quarterback he’s playing against - the pressure (Rodgers) puts on your defensive backs in coverage and staying in coverage and the back-shoulder fades, it’s as hard as it is in the game that I’ve seen. So we can get on them all we want, but it’s a young guy making a lot of great plays and maybe the biggest play at the end of the game. I remember thinking throughout the game that you kind of see him out there going to that side and there’s a penalty or a knocked down pass, but then you knew he was going to make a play because he was right there.”


A lot of the penalties that Waynes drew in Sunday’s game were because of the physicality he was playing with throughout the game, but he never let the calls change his approach. He continued to challenge the receivers and play them tough, which is what led to him being able to come down with the game-winning interception. 

He said that the coaches want the defensive backs to be physical with the receivers and that is why he never let the calls deter him or make him hesitant in what he was doing.

“That’s one thing that Coach (Jerry) Gray said, ‘Keep being aggressive and keep playing, sometimes you’re going to get calls your way,’” Waynes said. “Xavier (Rhodes) mentioned it during the game. He had a game like that last year or a couple of years ago. You just keep playing.”

The words of his coaches and teammates weren’t the only thing that kept Waynes going, though. He didn’t get down on himself because a couple of things went against him. He is confident in his abilities to make plays on the field and all of his teammates knew he was going to be there for them in the end.

“He’s a competitor and he’s not going to get flustered,” Harrison Smith said of Waynes. “He’s got a good demeanor about him. I was just saying, ‘Hey, just keep doing you, we’ve got you and we’ll be fine. Just keep playing your technique.’ That’s exactly what he did and that’s why he made that play.

Waynes ended the night with four tackles, one pass breakup and one interception. It was not always the prettiest of performances, but he was able to make a play at the game’s most crucial moment.

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