Trae Waynes' second career interception is one he doesn't imagine forgetting any time soon.
In Week 2 of the 2016 season, Waynes intercepted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to help seal a 17-14 Minnesota win in the inaugural regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium. (The Vikings cornerback nabbed his first pick in the Wild Card playoff game after the 2015 season).
"It was cool. I was happier to get off the field," Waynes laughed of the fourth-quarter play that halted Green Bay's attempt at a comeback drive. "But no, it was a great experience. I'm glad it was able to happen the way that it did, and I think it's a play that I'll remember forever."
Waynes has logged a number of strong performances against the Packers, having recorded 22 solo tackles (according to league stats) – more than any other opponent he's faced – and two interceptions against the division rival. He also has two tackles for loss and three passes defensed, and his lone career sack occurred in 2017 against Packers backup QB Brett Hundley.
Having tied at Green Bay in the teams' first matchup of the 2018 season, Waynes is looking forward to playing the Packers back at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday Night Football this weekend.
Waynes paid credit to Vikings fans for helping create a homefield advantage for Minnesota.
"The crowd, honestly, it's a blessing and a curse just because it gets so loud in there, and it's sometimes hard for the defense to hear what's going on and the calls we have to make," Waynes said. "But it also really affects the [opposing] offense, and I think that really helps us the most."
We caught up with Waynes for a recent Timeout:
Q: When you first started football years ago, you played running back, right? How did the switch to defense come about?
A: Yeah, but I didn't like getting hit. My O-line was never really good, so I was getting hit way too much. I was like, 'I'd rather hit somebody than get hit.'
Q: What was it like growing up with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon and both making it to the NFL?
A: It was pretty cool. Just having someone on that similar path, I mean, we really pushed ourselves growing up. We wanted to try to play college ball together, but unfortunately that didn't happen, but it still worked out for the both of us. We still stay in touch really often, and it's nice to have someone who you've gone through it with since the very beginning.
Q: Having grown up in the Midwest, what has it been like playing in the NFC North division?
A: Cold. I always joked that I couldn't get out of the Midwest. I went around the lake. I started in Wisconsin, went to Michigan [State] and then came to Minnesota, so I really just went around the lake. But it's cool. It's cool because growing up out here, it's really easy for people from your hometown to follow you instead of going to California or something.
Q: As a freshman, you overlapped with Kirk Cousins at Michigan State; what do you remember about him at that level?
A: Honestly, he's the same guy. He's always been a leader. A nice, humble guy. You know what you're going to get from him. He's just one of those guys who you looked up to from an early age.
Q: Has he impacted the 2018 Vikings team the same way you saw from him back then?
A: Oh, yeah. He came in, and I feel like he got along really well with the guys, and he [took ownership] of his position really quick. The confidence was always there, so I think it really helped him.
Q: You've been a big proponent of the Humane Society – tell me a little bit about your three dogs.
A: They're a pain, honestly. No, it's cool. Two I got in college – one of them I actually got on my birthday. I was coming home from work heading to practice, and he was dodging traffic, so I kind of just picked him up, and he's stuck with us ever since, for better or worse. The other one I got in college, one of my roommates had gotten a dog, and my [now-fiancee], she babysat him a lot, and I saw what was going to happen – 'eventually, he's just going to end up staying.' So sure enough, he did. And then the third one, we got here in Minnesota. … It's great. They all get along really well with my daughter, and they keep me on my toes.
Q: Your Instagram (@twaynes) followers know you're a big fan of fishing; where is your favorite spot to fish?
A: I mainly fish in my backyard because I live on a lake and it's more convenient, but my favorite, I'd probably say the ocean, deep-sea fishing. Just because you never know what you're going to get. Fishing in the lakes, you'll get specific species, but in the ocean you don't know what you'll get. I think that's what is most exciting about it.
Q: What's the biggest fish you've ever caught?
A: Well it's not the biggest, but I got a 32-inch walleye on the lake, which is pretty big. That was really cool.
Q: Which one of your teammates do you think would make the worst fishing partner, and why?
A: I don't know … Oh – Zay. X. I'm definitely gonna have to go with Xavier [Rhodes]. I've never seen him fish, but I feel like that would be a really interesting sight to see. He definitely would get distracted, for sure.
Q: You've mentioned your daughter; what's your favorite part of being a dad?
A: Just the challenge. Just seeing her grow up so fast. We already get into arguments, and she's only 2-and-a-half. [My fiancée] is always like, 'I'm going to put you both in timeout,' or she'll say, 'Trae, stop arguing,' and I'm like, 'But she started it.' She'll say, 'You're 26. She's 2.' Because she's like the spitting image of me. So. I think it's just really fun interacting with her and watching her grow.
Q: How has becoming a dad changed your perspective on your career?
A: It's not really about me anymore. I'm doing it for them and making sure that they have an easy life, that they don't have to worry about anything.