Minnesota Vikings defensive back Trae Waynes heard negativity throughout his life, but he wants to be sure kids are encouraged to achieve their potential.
With the Minnesota Vikings missing the playoffs during the 2016 season, the players packed up their lockers and headed home for the offseason. For Trae Waynes, that means going back to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he was born and raised.
The former #11 overall draft pick had a solid season with the Vikings, continuing to grow and develop as a cornerback. He made some big plays at key moments and gave a lot of encouragement toward being a key part of the Minnesota defense going forward.
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But encouragement isn’t something Waynes always had throughout his career. According to the Kenosha News website, the young man was always told he wasn’t good enough to succeed. That message stuck with him all the way to the NFL.
Waynes may have overcome the negativity, but not everyone does. That is why the Minnesota Vikings defensive back visited two Kenosha schools to talk to kids about following their dreams and working hard to achieve them.
The kids at Mahone Middle School on Tuesday and Lincoln Middle School on Wednesday met with Wayes, who had nothing but positive things to tell the Kenosha News about the experience.
“They had a lot of good questions,” he said. “Hopefully, I was able to help them. These kids don’t know what it’s like to play in college or the NFL or what it takes to get there. Just having that information is helpful.”
As for Waynes, his strong mindset and work ethic allowed him to prove the naysayers wrong and realize his actions were more powerful than their words.
“I knew I could play,” Waynes said. “Don’t worry about all the negative things people say. Focus on what you can do.”
Trae Waynes will be entering his 3rd year with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2017 season. His role with the team is likely to continue to increase and he can keep proving to be a valuable asset to the team.