Kevin O’Connell Provides an Excellent Lewis Cine Update

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Lewis Cine didn’t make much of an impact as a rookie.

For the most part, that was due to some brutal injury luck. The young safety broke his leg in Week 4 while in London. The break was significant enough to end his entire year, an awful bit of news for the Vikings as a team but mostly for the young player trying to get his career off the ground.

Thankfully, the final chapter hasn’t been written in the story of Lewis Cine’s NFL career. On the contrary, the 23-year-old is closer to the beginning than the end.

The Lewis Cine Update

Minnesota’s head coach seems excited about his sophomore safety. Apparently, the hard-hitter has been putting in plenty of work to help prepare for the upcoming season.

Take a look:

O’Connell notes his “great physical shape” and then his hunger to get back onto the field; it’s a great spot to be. And, of course, the coach notes that “mentally, he never took a day off.”

Making the jump to the NFL is often an intellectual challenge. Offenses are more sophisticated, so a defender has more possibilities to account for. A year simply focusing on getting the mental component mastered (or, perhaps, closer to being mastered) isn’t to be overlooked. Playing fast often comes down to being able to mentally process what’s occurring in an efficient manner. Nothing makes a player look slow quite like indecision.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Thankfully, Cine also happens to be a tremendously gifted athlete. Coming into the draft, he received a truly exemplary 9.92 relative athletic score. In other words, Cine is more athletic than almost every other safety in the NFL, both past and present. That doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a great player, but it’s an advantage nonetheless.

At 6’1″, 200 pounds, Lewis Cine isn’t the biggest safety in the NFL. However, he ran a blazing 4.37 forty and has similarly elite times in the 10- and 20-yard splits. Partnering that speed with his mentality – he wants to be a physical tackler – makes for a potential weapon on the back end of the defense.

Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) catches a ball during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s starting safeties in 2022 were Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum. Smith – who has a Hall of Fame résumé – is returning and so is Bynum (who played 100% of the defensive snaps in 2022). Smith’s spot in the starting lineup is assured, but Bynum will need to prove he still deserves his. The young safety allowed 8 touchdowns last season and QBs had a collective 123.0 passer rating when targeting him.

Brian Flores is well known for his aggressiveness and so too is Cine. Combined, the two should walk hand-in-hand harmoniously. A coach who wants to be physical and on the attack ought to partner well with a player who is looking to offer this precise approach.

Just 23 years old, Lewis Cine is heading toward a major role with the Vikings. He’ll carry a $2,612,308 cap hit into the season.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.