Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer Tuesday that rookie Trae Waynes is doing "a lot better" at covering the slot, a new position for the cornerback who is also working on the outside.
Zimmer would know, as the Waynes-dubbed "DB guru," has been closely observing the 11th overall pick at Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
ESPN.com's Ben Goessling noted the attention that Zimmer is paying to Waynes and equated it to the coach's work that helped Xavier Rhodes develop last season.
*There is perhaps no surer way for a Minnesota Vikings rookie to get intensive instruction from head coach Mike Zimmer than to be a highly-drafted cornerback, the next in a long line of players Zimmer has taught since his time working with Deion Sanders as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive backs coach in the mid-1990s. *
*First-round pick Trae Waynes is Zimmer's newest pupil, getting an earful of instruction from the coach during the Vikings' first padded practice on Tuesday as his mother Erin snapped pictures behind the end zone. Waynes is learning in much the same manner as Xavier Rhodes did last year, with Zimmer paying particular attention to the rookie's movements and peppering Tuesday's practice with coaching points in staccato. *
Zimmer said there's quite a bit to handle in the slot, which could increase the learning curve, but teammates have talked about Waynes being a quick study.
"There is a lot more that goes in there," Zimmer said. "But I still feel like the more things that we can give him to do, (it's) kind of what we like to do with a lot of young guys — give them a lot of stuff to do, and if we have to, pare it down as opposed to saying, 'Well, he can't do that,' and never knowing if they can. It would be good for his overall development of his game, just by understating things that happen inside as well."
Johnson Learns from Larry Fitzgerald
The emergence of Charles Johnson last season was an encouraging aspect of the Vikings offense, and one that could be even more impactful in 2015. He was named as the 20th most likely "Making the Leap" candidate by NFL.com, which listed Teddy Bridgewater second and Anthony Barr third.
Viking Update's Eric Oslund noted the offseason work that Johnson did to take the next step, which included learning from Minnesota native and eight-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald.
*Johnson could also sense that he had a golden opportunity in front of him to have a big year and he wants to make sure he is ready. He has been doing everything he could to improve his game, even working out with Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald. *
"It was great. He's one of the best in the league and he's been doing it for years now," Johnson told Oslund. "It was good to be able to go out there and work with him a little bit and just watch how he goes about his business and how he's been so successful over the years."
The *Star Tribune's *Matt Vensel on the production of Jarius Wright in the slot last season.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press on Captain Munnerlyn's possible roles this season.
1500ESPN.com's Judd Zulgad on the favorite to follow Adam Thielen as "Mr. Mankato."