— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 30, 2018
Well, outside of any unforeseen circumstances, the Minnesota Vikings have locked down their sideline corners AT-LEAST through 2019. The SKOL will pay Waynes an additional $7ish million more for his services in 2019, compared to what they will pay him this year.
The Michigan State Alum has done nothing but improve every year which goes to show what kind of CB he is. Playing under Mike Zimmer as a CB is nothing short of mentally exhausting, I’m sure. As a 1st round draft pick, you go in and get torn down for at least a full season. You don’t play and you constantly have problems playing his bump and run coverage without being called every other play for pass interference or defensive holding. His accomplice at the other side of the field, Xavier Rhodes, went through the same thing.
Although at times throughout “the process”, people weren’t sure if Waynes would come out on top like Rhodes did, his future is now looking brighter and brighter as the years go by. At a spry 25 years old, 2017 was a year of bests for Waynes, which goes toward the theory of his continued development. It was the first season where he started all 16 games. He had a career-high 65 tackles, which counted for nearly half of his career total of 145.
If Waynes locks in a big time 2018 season, he’ll be asking for Xavier Rhodes money come contract talks before his extension kicks in for 2019. Pro Football Focus had the Michigan State Alum as their 3rd best NFL CB in man coverage for 2017, ahead of even Xavier Rhodes.
We’ll have to sit back and watch where the DB situation takes us, as 2018 unfolds. If Waynes has a monster year, are the Vikings going to be ready to pay two corners $13-14 million per year? Is there a world where Mackenzie Alexander and 1st-round rookie CB Mike Hughes play well enough where they can push Waynes’ money out the door, while leaving Spielman and Zimmer still-comfortable with their defensive back-end?
At the end of the day, these conversations are a testament to the high-round draft prowess on defense since Zimmer has come on board. You want your players to play so well they are demanding top-end money when contracts come due.
How you actually keep them all on roster will prove to be a tricky process, however.