Trae Waynes ready to return to Vikings lineup
The Vikings will be shorthanded at cornerback no more.
“I’m coming back this week,” Trae Waynes announced Wednesday. “So it’s all good.”
The Vikings have played the last six-plus quarters without Waynes, who was concussed while defending Brandin Cooks’ 47-yard touchdown reception near halftime of the 38-31 loss to the Rams on Sept. 27.
In last week’s 23-21 victory at Philadelphia, they made do with rookie Mike Hughes at left corner and a three-man rotation in the slot. Hughes played 52 snaps outside and two in the slot, while 38 other slot snaps were shared by Mackensie Alexander (22) and safeties Jayron Kearse (10) and George Iloka (six).
Of course, Waynes starting the game doesn’t mean he’ll finish it. He’s failed to finish two of his four games this season. He suffered a knee injury in Week 1.
“It’s football,” said Waynes, who had full participation in Wednesday’s practice. “It’s part of the game. Injuries happen. You just got to overcome it.”
In a rare interview session with reporters, Waynes also was asked about friend, neighbor and teammate Everson Griffen, who will miss a fourth consecutive game as he deals with his mental health issues.
“We have nothing but love for Ev,” Waynes said. “We hope he gets better. We just want a speedy recovery for him and for him to get back to us.”
Reiff sits; O-line ‘respected’
Left tackle Riley Reiff, who left Sunday’s game because of a foot injury that has been bothering him since Week 3, sat out Wednesday’s practice.
If he’s unable to play against the Cardinals, the Vikings will start the same tackle duo — Rashod Hill on the left and rookie Brian O’Neill on the right — that finished the Eagles game.
“I thought they did pretty well [against Philadelphia],” coach Mike Zimmer said. “O’Neill battled really well. Did some good things. And, honestly, Rashod, when he went over [to left tackle], his technique was probably a little bit better.”
Overall, Zimmer said the offensive line “is getting better every day.”
“I really respect our offensive line and the things they do because, in my opinion, they’re tough guys,” he said. “They work real hard. They don’t say boo. They just keep fighting.”
Cook limited, Sendejo sits
Running back Dalvin Cook, who has missed two of the past three games because of a hamstring injury, was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Meanwhile, safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) and defensive end Tashawn Bower (ankle) joined Reiff in sitting out practice.
5,000 yards? Who cares?
Kirk Cousins is on pace to throw for 5,402 yards this season. For the record, Zimmer doesn’t give a hoot.
“I don’t really care about statistics,” Zimmer said. “I just want to get wins. I don’t care how we do it. Obviously, I have a philosophy, but we have to do what we have to do to win football games.”
Ditto for Cousins.
“These questions are tough to answer because it’s just not where my mind is at,” Cousins said. “It does me no good to answer that question, to talk about that. I want to focus on the Arizona Cardinals, trying to win any way we can. If I throw for zero yards, throw zero passes and we win, we’re doing our job as an organization.”
Cousins: Accuracy is ‘innate’
Cousins is one of seven NFL quarterbacks with a completion percentage of 70 percent or better. He ranks fifth at 71.2 percent.
“Accuracy is something you certainly can work on, but I do think it’s hard to develop it,” Cousins said. “I heard one coach at Purdue say one time, ‘I wish I could tell you we made Drew Brees who he is, but he came to us Day 1 as a freshman very accurate as a 19-year-old.’
“I think that’s true with accuracy. In a lot of ways, it’s innate. Either you have it or you don’t.”