Vikings rookie Trae Waynes struggles in NFL debut


The preseason is mainly for players battling for jobs and rookies.

For the latter group, even those selected in the first round, early games allow them to get their feet wet against NFL competition.

Sometimes it goes swimmingly. Sometimes they struggle.

Sunday night's Hall of Fame game -- a 14-3 Minnesota Vikings' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- provided a learning experience for Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes.

The rookie corner struggled at times, being called for three penalties -- one defensive holding was declined on a play Waynes got burned for a 35-yard gain.

"Part of the thing was I didn't want to take him out," coach Mike Zimmer said after the contest, per the Minnesota Star Tribune. "I wanted to find out what kind of toughness he had when things happen like that and how are you going to fight back and how are you going to respond. I thought he did a nice job with those things. He's just got to learn some of the technical things about the NFL. Athletically and the type of kid he is, he's going to be fine."

Most of Waynes' difficulties came in "off" coverage, something he admitted to being concerned about entering the contest. In press coverage at the line of scrimmage -- where he played in college -- Waynes looked at home.

A rookie struggling early in the preseason isn't something to fret about, especially at a tough position to make a transition to in the NFL.

The Vikings have depth and can afford to bring Waynes along slowly as a backup and in nickel situations. Sunday night was Step 1 of the learning process.

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