Vikings Brass Continues to Hold onto Hope for 2022 Draft Class

When Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over the job as Vikings general manager, there was hope that he would be able to turn around the Vikings roster and turn them into a playoff contender again.

While the Vikings did make the playoffs in 2022, it came without much contribution from their 2022 Draft class, which included S Lewis Cine and CB Andrew Booth. Two years into their careers, there continues to be major questions regarding how much they will be able to contribute to this team.

During their end-of-season press conference, the Vikings brass continued to hold onto hope that things can turn around for the top picks in that class. Is it time for Minnesota to chalk it up as a loss, though?

Vikings Brass Holds onto Hope for 2022 Draft Class

Vikings Brass
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about Cine and Booth, Adofo-Mensah had the following to say:

“Cine didn’t have a rookie year pretty much. He got the injury, and now he comes to learn a new defense with Brian Flores, so I think that has to be considered. Then, Andrew Booth, same thing, learning from a new defense, adjusting to this style of play. We are continuing to believe in our people, pour into them with our player development resources – all the things we have in this building – but, as I said earlier, it is a results business at the end of the day, and we will see where we end up.”

The points are valid. Cine’s rookie season came to an unexpected end in Week 4 of the 2022 season when he suffered a compound fracture in his leg. Booth, too, was in a secondary filled with veterans like Cameron Dantzler, Patrick Peterson, and Chandon Sullivan, so there were limited opportunities for him in his rookie year.

Then, when Booth finally got a chance to start in Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, he suffered a torn meniscus, and his rookie season came to an end.

2022 Vikings Draft Class
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) straight arms Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) after making a catch during second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

There is a point that both players had to learn a new defense this offseason as well, but that argument quickly loses validity, especially in Cine’s case.

Brian Flores came in to run the defense this offseason, and he continuously used the entire depth chart of safeties to run his group. All three of Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus, and Harrison Smith played over 1000 defensive snaps this year while Theo Jackson also got 126 snaps with the unit.

Cine, on the other hand, played a grand total of eight snaps on defense, or 0.71% of the defensive snaps. All eight of them came in Week 17 against the Green Bay Packers after the game had gotten a bit out of hand.

It seems that a first-round caliber player, previous injuries or not, should have been able to carve out a role for himself in this defense. Instead, Cine remained pretty easily the sixth player on the depth chart throughout the year.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We still shouldn’t chalk Cine up as a bust by any means, but the safety is in danger of entering that territory if he doesn’t find a way to prove that he belongs on the field next season.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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