The former 2015 first-round pick limited his offseason workouts after entering July without finalizing his contract and suffered a setback.
Waynes “is seeking a second opinion on a pectoral injury, with the initial fear that he could miss about two months,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday morning. Waynes decided not to prepare as intensive as he could before training camp because the Bengals would not finalize his contract until he took an on-site physical and would not offer an off-site visit with him.
Waynes passed a team physical at training camp in July and secured the $15 million signing bonus on his three-year, $42 million deal he agreed to in March.
Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Agent Advised Waynes To Avoid ‘Football Drills’ Amid Pandemic
When Waynes agreed to his contract, it seemed he had found a better deal with the Bengals than the Vikings could offer. In respect to an NFL guideline, Waynes relocated his wife and two kids to Cincinnati, anticipating he could still get an off-site physical from the Bengals’ team doctor despite the pandemic shutting down the team’s training facilities.
The Bengals require players to receive a physical from a team doctor before finalizing contracts, but the Bengals did not allow team doctors to practice outside the facility. Waynes was left in limbo in considering how intensive he should prepare for the 2020 season. If he worked out suffered an injury before training camp, he could have potentially lost out on the entire deal. His agent advised him “not to do any football drills” until the deal is finalized.
Additionally, Waynes had already participated in the virtual offseason without finalizing his contract, essentially working on a promise of a contract.
Waynes’ Injury Could Have Been Due to Lack of Preparedness
Waynes’ agent, Brian Murphy, told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that the Bengals’ decision to withhold off-site physicals had impacted Waynes’ readiness for the 2020 season:
He signed a nice offseason contract to go to the Bengals, be the man in their secondary, make a major contribution, and so under ordinary circumstances, he’d be killing himself to get in the best shape possible,” Murphy continued. He did do all the Zoom calls. Obviously, there’s no physical activity there, and he’d really want to be in the best shape of life, so he can play the best football of his life. But because of the Bengals’ decision, he can’t do that.
So yeah, he’s gotta be creative, he’s gotta find different ways to be at peak physical performance. But assuming he’s not doing the one-on-one drills, assuming he’s not battling other players, he’s just not gonna be where he otherwise would be in a normal year.
Waynes even told Takeo Spikes on the Behind the Mask podcast that, had he known the Bengals would not allow him to take an off-site physical, he could have stayed in Minnesota during the offseason and trained with his longtime trainer.
There’s yet to be conclusive evidence that Waynes’ lack of offseason training was the reason for his injury, but nonetheless, the Bengals will be without the heir to the team’s secondary potentially until October.
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.