Saturday, July 23, 2016

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As first reported by ESPN 1500 contributor Darren Wolfson Thursday afternoon, Trae Waynes became the fourth first-round pick to sign his rookie deal. The four-year contract, which includes a fifth-year option for the team, is worth $12.944 million and pays Waynes a $7.674 million signing bonus.

The Vikings selected Waynes with the 11th-overall pick, making him the most valuable cornerback they’ve ever taken in the draft. He joins rookies Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, B.J. Dubose, and Edmond Robinson as the latest additions to Mike Zimmer’s defensive rebuild.

Photo courtesy of vikings.com

Welcome to our ongoing series profiling our newest Vikings. Thus far, Carl delivered a good look at Tyrus Thomas and Austin put together a nice break down of Stefon Diggs.

This most recent draft seemed oddly routine for Vikings fans. There weren’t any major trades or surprise picks and the team addressed some of their biggest needs in the early rounds. The first being Trae Waynes out of Michigan State.

When trying to take the crown of the NFC North, drafting cornerbacks is always a good idea. The Vikings believed that to be true and used the 11th pick overall to draft Waynes making him the highest drafted cornerback in franchise history. With Waynes being the first cornerback off the board last weekend, the Vikings clearly made a statement that Waynes was their guy.

There was plenty of speculation that Waynes would end up with the Vikings prior to the draft, but now that he is officially a Viking, let’s take a moment to break down what he brings to the defense.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

After agreeing to terms with 10 undrafted free agents on Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings saw their roster balloon to 95 players. The additions meant Rick Spielman and his front office would need to release at least five players by the start of the Vikings’ first rookie minicamp this weekend. According to the team’s official website, the Vikings cleared that necessary roster space by waiving five players on Thursday:

S Ahmad Dixon

RB Henry Josey

TE Ryan Otten

T Antonio Richardson

G Austin Wentworth

Wentworth and Richardson were undrafted free agents in 2014, but quickly became expendable after the Vikings selected three offensive linemen in last week’s NFL Draft. Richardson was placed on injured reserve last summer after undergoing surgery on both of his knees, possibly ending his career in the NFL. Wentworth appeared in seven regular season games for the Vikings last year after injuries decimated the offensive line.

Dixon was added to the active roster last December, but didn’t step foot on the field. Josey, an undrafted running back out of Missouri in 2014, replaced Ben Tate in late December but did not appear in any games. Both Dixon and Josey were on the Vikings 53-man roster for the regular season finale against the Chicago Bears

Otten was a familar face on the Vikings’ practice squad — he spent two stints with the group last season and was added again in November before signing a futures deal in January.

With the moves, the Vikings head into the rookie minicamp at the 90-man roster limit. Check back for coverage of this week’s activities, which start today and run through the weekend!

 

 

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Brent: Eric Kendricks
We’ve all seen what Zimmer can do with rookie linebackers and although Kendricks might not be as athletic or ready for the NFL as his UCLA counterpart Anthony Barr was as a rookie, I think Zimmer will find a way to put Kendricks in positions to have an impact on the defense. Some would argue that Trae Waynes will mean more to the secondary, but I’m not convinced he starts in week 1 and if I’m a QB, I’m going to pick on the rookie CB a little knowing what kind of defender Xavier Rhodes has become. Waynes will be a fine addition to this defense in the long term, but I think Kendricks adjusts faster and will make notable plays that will contribute to this impact on the defense.

Adam: Eric Kendricks
I’m in the slight minority in that I love, love, love the Trae Waynes pick. With that being said, I never have super high expectations for rookie cornerbacks, and he will probably get picked on a lot seeing as Xavier Rhodes is the guy lining up across from him. So, I’m going to go with linebacker Eric Kendricks, who possesses the ability to cover athletic tight ends and even some slot receivers in the passing game. Not only that, but he should be an immediate upgrade to a run defense that struggled plenty in 2014. If Kendricks is as talented and pro-ready as I think he is, then he will be the key that unlocks a lot of fun new wrinkles in the Mike Zimmer defense. I don’t see any of our other rookies as being able to positively impact such a broad portion of our game plan as Kendricks will be able to from Day One.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Yesterday, Carl introduced you to Tyrus Thompson, one of 10 players the Minnesota Vikings selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. We’ll break down every player over the next few days, from first round draft pick Trae Waynes to 7th round project Edmond Robinson.

This morning, I’ll take a look at wide receiver Stefon Diggs, a “swiss army knife” who spent three seasons at Maryland, where he found success as a pass catcher and kick returner for the Terrapins.

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