According to The Depth Chart, The Vikings Won’t Start Any Rookies on Defense

Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier in the week, the Vikings put out their updated depth chart. One of the notable components rested in the fact that none of the Vikings’ rookies are listed among the starters on defense.

During the most recent draft, the Vikings made it a priority to bring in a lot of talent for their defense. True, there was an even split between the two sides of the ball – 5 players on defense, 5 players on offense – but most of the high picks went toward Ed Donatell’s side. Lewis Cine (RD1), Andrew Booth Jr. (RD2), Brian Asamoah (RD3), Akayleb Evans (RD4), and Esezi Otomewo (RD5) were 5 of Minnesota’s initial 6 picks (see the draft details on PFR for more info).

Despite the priority at the top of the draft, none of the rookies will be starting on the Vikings defense in Week 1.

According to the team’s website, the defense will consist of Dalvin Tomlinson, Jonathan Bullard, and Harrison Phillips along the defensive line. Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith will be the starting two edge rushers; Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks are the two middle linebackers. The secondary will feature Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler at corner; Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum will be the safeties.

Now, we need not overreact to the rookies being backups.

Cine will likely still see some snaps when Donatell is looking to get more defensive backs onto the field. Asamoah did some really good things during preseason, so we’ll see if he finds his way onto the field at some point. Currently, it looks like Troy Dye would be the next middle linebacker, but Asamoah ought not be underestimated.

Plenty more could be said about Evans, Otomewo, and Booth, but you get the point. Failing to make the starting lineup in one’s first ever NFL game isn’t the end of the world. Oh, and let’s not forget UDFA Luiji Vilain, who is also a rookie.

Moreover, we mustn’t forget special teams.

If the rookies aren’t among the starters, there’s a good chance they’ll be relied on to contribute on special teams. Indeed, the Vikings may turn to their rookies for more special teams snaps than snaps on defense. Matt Daniels can use these players to provide strong blocking and tackling.

The season is just beginning, folks. By the time the final game is played, the defense will likely look different. In other words, don’t get too high or too low at this stage. Let’s simply hope for a strong defensive effort on Sunday and then see how things proceed moving forward.