Can The 2022 Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Draft Class Flourish in Year 2?

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) lines up during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s draft class didn’t perform particularly well in 2022.

To be sure, there were reasonable explanations beyond being ineffective football players. Many of the draftees battled injury, Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. foremost among them. That youthful speed and energy fans were clamouring for? Losing those two significantly undercut the team’s ability to get that in 2022.

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

Even still, fans were reasonably disappointed. Just how bad was it?

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s Draft Class in 2022

Take a peak at the snap totals for the players:

PlayerSnaps on Offense/Defense
Cine, Lewis2
Booth Jr., Andrew105
Ingram, Ed1168
Asamoah, Brian119
Evans, Akayleb162
Otomewo, Esezi89
Chandler, Ty12
Lowe, Vederian33
Nailor, Jalen57
Muse, Nick0

The wild thing is that Ingram – the team’s starting RG – more than doubled every other rookie draftees’ combined snaps. The former LSU offensive lineman had 1168 snaps. The other 9 Vikings rookies had 579 snaps. In other words, Ingram essentially had twice as many as the other draft picks.

It’s a reality that needs to change, especially when we remember that Ingram struggled as a rookie.

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

Thankfully, there have been some positive developments for the soon-to-be sophomores. Cine has posted some videos online that suggest he’s recovering well. Furthermore, Kevin O’Connell has indicated that the young safety has already been pestering him about when the offseason program will get going. Combining physical health with a yearning for the football field is a nice spot to be.

Heading into the draft, Cine was commonly praised for his physicality and aggression, so one has to assume that Brian Flores is enthused about him.

Recently, there has been quite a bit of focus on Brian Asamoah. The linebacker showed promise in 2022 even though he wasn’t on the field for very long. The decision to move on from Eric Kendricks means Asamoah has an open path to a starting LB spot, though it wouldn’t be very surprising to see the team lean on free agency to beef up the position (especially if Jordan Hicks is cut).

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Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) in action against the Detroit Lions during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the conversation about last year’s rookies can spiral into any number of other areas. Vikings fans have been wondering about next year’s WR2 and Jalen Nailor is commonly left out of those conversations. Irv Smith Jr. appears set to head elsewhere; can Nick Muse become a rotational TE? The corner situation isn’t particularly inspiring, but seeing at least one of Akayleb Evans or Andrew Booth Jr. step up would go a long way in seeing the defense bounce back. And what about Otomewo? Minnesota could certainly benefit from a friskier, livelier defensive front, so more youth is appealing.

At this point in the offseason, the vast majority of the focus gets directed toward bringing in outside talent through free agency and the draft. Squeezing more value out of players already on the team, though, is a no-less-important way of finding improvement.

Perhaps another year with Kevin O’Connell at the helm and some better injury luck will be precisely what the Purple & Gold need.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.