The depth of talent that the Vikings have built at cornerback has been helpful this season, allowing Trae Waynes to step in for Xavier Rhodes the first two games of the season and then enabling Minnesota to rotate Waynes, Rhodes and Trae Waynes at the two outside corner spots the past two games.
Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray spoke with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen for a segment that will air at 6:30 p.m. tonight on Xs and Os on KFAN 100.3-FM and discussed the importance of keeping open the pipeline of defensive backs.
Gray played one season of his All-Pro career as a member of the Houston Oilers. Now, he's preparing the Vikings to host the Houston Texans.
In addition to talking about how the Vikings limited Giants starting receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard to 103 total yards on 12 catches and 25 targets, Gray discussed what Waynes has delivered for Minnesota with more playing time in his second season. He also shared the messages that are being relayed to second-round pick Mackensie Alexander, who is on standby.
Gray said Waynes' confidence of going against NFL competition has increased from a year ago. Vikings coaches have encouraged him, "Don't back down from any receiver."
The message for Alexander so far is "Don't get frustrated [by not playing a lot] because you will get your chance."
"I tell him every week, 'Be prepared to go because if a guy gets nicked, we don't want to take a step backward,' " Gray said. "A lot of young guys, they get impatient because they think, 'I should be out there competing with them.'
"Well, your chance is going to come and make sure you're ready because what happens in this league, young guys want to play and they don't know how to play the best they can be, and you have to prepare every week to do that."