Some Thoughts on Vikings Rookies in Their First Preseason Game

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

With a number of Vikings veterans out of the first preseason game this weekend, many of the Vikings rookies got opportunities to step on an NFL field for the first time. Here are some initial thoughts on a few of these rookies from the 2022 draft class after their preseason debuts.

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Lewis Cine

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) performs a drill at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, it was a solid performance for the Vikings first-round pick in his NFL preseason debut. He did what he was asked to do in that the Raiders didn’t throw over the top at all, so we didn’t get a chance to see Lewis Cine make too many plays in pass coverage. However, there were no missed tackles, and he stepped up against the running game on multiple occasions. These snaps bode well for Cine as the future Harrison Smith replacement, who has been a hard-hitting blitzer at safety throughout his career. We’ll see what Cine can do against a talented 49ers offense this upcoming weekend.

Andrew Booth Jr.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In his first preseason game, Andrew Booth went through all the expected struggles. He had a tough time keeping up with NFL routes, and the rookie got a little extra handsy at times. He was penalized for DPI and a facemask at one point while also giving up a 21-yard reception.

That said, upon rewatching the play, it’s tough to see when exactly he committed either penalty. He got blown away by the route that he didn’t seem close enough to actually commit either of them. I guess it’s preseason for referees as well.

While this wasn’t a “put the league on notice” performance from Booth, nothing happened to cause major concern for the future. I’d rather have my young corner be too physical at this point than not physical enough. If he can dial a few of these things in, Booth should progress nicely.

Ed Ingram

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports..

Ed Ingram didn’t start on Sunday, but he certainly shined the brightest at the right guard position. In his eight snaps, Jesse Davis gave up a sack and allowed a couple pressures, but watching back Ingram’s 30 snaps, it was hard to find one where his defender beat him. He played very well in both run blocking and pass protection, while being a key contributor towards big days on the ground for Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler. If the regular season started this week, Ingram would be the starting right guard.

Brian Asamoah

Sep 18, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Brian Asamoah (24) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It was a stellar day for Brian Asamoah as well. He showcased his speed and aggressiveness making a very impressive chase-down tackle on the goal-line. Then there was this other-worldly hit on a Raiders receiver.

Considering Troy Dye had some big struggles, especially in pass coverage, it would make sense for Asamoah to be the lead LB off the bench behind Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks.

Akayleb Evans

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans (DB11) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to Cine, Akayleb Evans had a rather quiet day in his preseason debut. Again, it’s probably better for him to go unnoticed at this point rather than be notable for bad reasons in the way that Josh Metellus did. If Evans makes the roster, especially early on, it looks like his snaps will be limited to special teams with how many talented corners the Vikings have right now.

Ty Chandler

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) rushes against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Chandler exploded onto the scene in his snaps, taking five carries for 50 yards and returning a kick 56 yards. In a loaded running back room, both he and Kene Nwangwu made their best case for the Vikings to carry four RBs on the roster into the regular season. This is especially impressive considering the Raiders defense largely kept the Jaguars running game in check throughout the Hall of Fame game. Chandler will need to continue to play well against San Francisco, but this was about as good of a start as anyone could have asked for.

Jalen Nailor

Questions Answered: Rookie Faster than Nwangwu, Favorites for Suh, Bisi Johnson
Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK. Syndication Detroit Free Press

For Jalen Nailor to make the roster amongst Minnesota’s wide receivers, he needs to prove himself as a return man. He only got one chance at a return on Sunday, and he muffed it. Ihmir Smith-Marsette didn’t do great on his punt return, but he took the opening kickoff across midfield before it got brought back due to penalty. There are still two games left, and hopefully those games bring plenty of punt returns with them. This isn’t a doomsday situation for Nailor, but he needs to bring a better performance with him this weekend.