The Context for Trae Waynes’ Anger at Vikings

The Context for Trae Waynes' Anger at Vikings
Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes. © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Trae Waynes unofficially retired last week in a tell-all interview with the Geary and Stein Show.

He also shed some light on Vikings history, particularly his resentment on draft night involving the Minnesota Vikings. Some sites reported Waynes as “pissed off” over the Vikings selecting the cornerback in the 1st Round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Unsurprisingly, though, the ire needs more context.

Waynes wasn’t mad at the Vikings for drafting him — as in, “I don’t want to play for this team,” as the aforementioned headlines suggest. He was irked by the lead-up to the draft and the Vikings draft posturing.

Any NFL draft is a web of lies and deception, keeping teams before and after a franchise guessing about a drafting team’s next move. Waynes was frequently mock-drafted to the Vikings during the pre-draft cycle, so most draft pundits and Vikings fans believed he’d be “the guy” for Minnesota at #11. And, he ultimately was.

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes. © Cara Owsley/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Waynes explained on the Geary and Stein Show, “Don’t be mad at me. I’m going to explain it, but I was kind of pissed off about it. I was mad because all of the draft projections and all of that stuff was like, He’s going to Minnesota, Minnesota, Minnesota.”

The then-rookie understood in the build-up to the draft that the Vikings were likely his destination. However, Waynes’ agent pivoted his belief and told the Michigan Statue alumnus that the Vikings probably weren’t choosing him.

That’s when the disgruntlement began.

Waynes continued, “I would say I’m very stubborn. So, I hold grudges. So, I had wrote Minnesota off the table. I’m like f*ck them. In my head, I was like, I don’t want to go there anyways.”

General Manager Rick Spielman wound up selecting Waynes, and he played for the Vikings from 2015 to 2019. And in the remainder of the Geary and Stein interview, Waynes opined on enjoying his career with the Vikings.

Not-Old Former Viking Unceremiously Calls It Quits
Dec 15, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes. © Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

With the Vikings, Waynes tallied 259 total tackles, 43 passes defended, and seven interceptions. He was a complimentary CB2 to Xavier Rhodes, who is also a free agent and was at the peak of his powers alongside Waynes.

Overall, Waynes doesn’t lament his career in Minnesota. That context is important for any Vikings fans who might’ve skimmed headlines last week, inferring Waynes was “pissed off,” in general, about his time in Minnesota. He wasn’t.

He just took issue with Spielman’s topsy-turvy diplomacy on draft night.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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