Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman
Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Cornerback Trae Waynes
Rick Spielman: Welcome. We are very excited to introduce you to our number one draft pick last night, Trae Waynes. I know I spoke about him a little bit last night, I know that Coach (Mike) Zimmer spoke about him as well, and Coach Zim will have a few words right after me. There is one story that I wanted to share, that I wanted to hit on this morning, to tell you what type of character and person Trae Waynes is. I got a text this morning. My brother-in-law and wife's whole family lives in Chicago and my brother-in-law has a real close friend that went to the draft party as well last night. His daughter went in for cleft palate surgery and sure enough, on Tuesday, Trae Waynes was at the children's hospital and spent 15 minutes with this child before she went into her operation and they sent me a picture of Trae with the baby as it was getting ready to go in. I don't even know the person, but they wrote the nicest letter and nicest tweet to me on what a first-class individual that Trae Waynes is. I know what he can do on the football field, I know what kind of family he comes from and right now, I know what kind of person he is. That's what we want when we are drafting a Minnesota Viking player. You'll get an opportunity to hear from him here in a few minutes. Just to touch really quickly on tonight, very excited about the opportunity to get some more good players tonight, I know last night was a little bit of a conventional type draft, but I expect today there will be a lot more movement than you probably saw last night. We are very excited about where we're at and very excited about adding some more players to this roster. Now, I would like to introduce head coach Mike Zimmer.
Mike Zimmer: I talked last night about the importance of the kind of character that players that we have here. I want to make sure that the guys that we bring in to this organization are people that our fans can be proud of, how hard they work, what kind of people they are in the community, how good they want to be, the way they want to study and prepare and how badly they want to win and Trae is definitely that type of person. You go back and you look at our picks from a year ago, with Teddy (Bridgewater) and Anthony (Barr) and now Trae. All of these guys are all the same kind of character people and it will bode well for the future of the Minnesota Vikings and for the rest of our organization. It's hard to find really good corners in the draft nowadays. It seems like everybody with great athletic ability is playing offense, they're playing wide receivers, and the way the ball is being spread around in college. For us to get a guy that has size, which is important to me, outstanding speed, 4.31 in the 40 (yard dash), excellent ball skills, great competitor, big heart – those things are all really important. We're extremely excited to get him here next week for the rookie mini-camp and put him to work. Then all of this media stuff will be over and it will be time to get to work and do football. Without further ado, Trae Waynes.
Trae Waynes: First, I would like to thank Rick Spielman, Coach Zim and the Wilf family for giving me this opportunity, and like Coach just said, I'm ready to get back to work and get over all of this media stuff.
Q: What have the last 24 hours been like?
A:* *It's been hectic. I was really anxious and ready to get this process over, but after I got that call, I was finally able to breathe a little bit. Then, I realized that I'll finally be able to start this new journey.
Q: Why do you think that you're a good fit with the Vikings?
A: Coach Zim is a DB guru and he told me earlier that him coaching me at my Pro Day was nothing, and he was coaching me pretty hard. I'm really excited to see what type of player he can turn me into and hopefully I can make an impact on this defense.
Q: Where did your physical style of playing come from?
A: Just having that edge. I've always enjoyed tackling people and that just got brought out even more when I was at Michigan State, just by the coaching. Coach (Harlon) Barnett always emphasized to bring that dog out and let that other guy out on the field. We practiced tackling and we did hitting drills more than anything else and that's what he instilled in us.
Q: Seeing all of the wide receivers in the NFC North, do you think you can stop those guys? Are you going to start watching film on those guys?
A: Yes, that's something I'm definitely going to start doing. I've really got to get in the film room, especially with those bigger guys. I'm excited. I embrace competition and just going against great guys like that is going to make be a better player.
Q: Have you had the chance to see the guys you're going to be playing with yet?
A: Yeah, some of those guys I'm familiar with. Like Harrison Smith, he sent me a text last night and I know some other guys that are in the same agency, so I know a couple of them.
Q: What were you able to retain technically from your Pro Day with Coach Zimmer?
A: He is a hard coach. But that is something that I enjoy. Deion (Sanders) even harped on it yesterday, he had mentioned what kind of coach he was and that is something that I enjoy because I know overall that is going to make me a better player.
Q: Did it benefit you having to wait a few years before starting at Michigan State?
A: Yeah, I feel like it helped me, but everything happens for a reason. Once I finally got thrown into the fire it all worked out and I took advantage of the opportunity.
Q: What did Michigan State do differently in an era of offense to excel on defense, and how did you benefit from that?
A: It's a character thing; the type of players they recruit there, it's big on them. I was fortunate enough to have really good players ahead of me like Queze (Darqueze Dennard), Johnny Adams, Chris Rucker, and being able to play with a lot of great players as well, and that helped me develop as a player.
Q: You have mentioned Deion Sanders several times, how much have you talked with him about Coach Zimmer, some of the Vikings players, or the transition into the NFL?
A: Not much, but last night he definitely made it a point to bring up Coach Z.
Q: How much does it mean to you is it that you were selected by a team so close to your home in Wisconsin?
A: It means a lot. It's really big just from a family standpoint. They are going to be able to come to a lot of my games, not have to travel across the country just to see me play. My parents, they're not really big on flying, so this is only a short drive away.
Q: Were you a Packers fan growing up?
Q: You mentioned you were a fan of players, who were some of your favorite players?
A: That goes back to the question earlier on why I like being aggressive. Just the type of players I watched like Bob Sanders, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, those type of guys. Growing up I never paid too much attention to corner because that was something I never really played until my junior year of high school.
Q: Did you watch Terrance Newman?
A:* *A little bit, yeah.
Q: Have you talked to Terrance Newman yet?
Q: How did you grow up in Kenosha, WI and not become a Packers fan?
A: It just happened that way. It was really hard for me to just be a fan of just one team just because I liked so many different players, that's just how it happened.
Q: What about this defense are you going to concentrate about this defense in the next couple of months?
A: Definitely getting my head in the playbook, really start to understand terminology, the schemes and everything.
Q: You go against the Chargers pretty early in season.
Q: Have you started talking to Melvin Gordon about that matchup yet?
Q: What's the talk like?
A: You'll see, you'll see.
Q: What are the similarities between the Michigan State scheme and the Vikings?
A: How they play their corners. Press-man, bump and run, that's something that we do faithfully at Michigan State. I will probably be asked to do a little more here, but that is something we also did, as well, at Michigan State. We installed a whole bunch of things that we didn't even use, but we had them in the game plan, we were made familiar with them.
Q: You broke your leg your senior year of high school, how did you do that?
A: Kick return, guy tackled me from behind and just fell on my leg weird and broke it.
Q: Did you ever doubt your college career after the injury?
A: No, honestly I didn't even know my leg was broke. You can ask my mom, I tried getting up, but once I realized I couldn't get up, that's when I knew something was serious. Once the doctors said I'll be okay, I'll be able to play football again, I talked to my physical therapist and we had a goal and that was to run outdoor track and that's what we did.
Q: What did it mean to you that Michigan State still supported you?
A: It meant a lot, they called me the day after and they said, "We are going to stick by you and work through this together" and everything worked out.
Q: Was pro baseball ever an option?
A: I though about it, but I never thought about it seriously until I think my junior year (high school) when my baseball coach asked me if I'm going to take it serious because he thought I had the potential to potentially get drafted. Football is my passion, this is what I love to do. I got ejected for two games because I ran over the catcher; just out of frustration so, I mean obviously, I had to stick with football. This is something that I grew up watching and I love playing, so I just had to follow my dream.
Q: How important is it to have good character in the NFL?
A: It's really important, but that goes way back to my family and how I was raised. My parents were hard on me and my brother. My dad was actually my guidance counselor. They kept us out of trouble and they raised us right, I owe all of that to them.