There’s a Wrench in Vikings Rookie of the Year Odds

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The Minnesota Vikings 2022 NFL Draft haul was a defensive affair, adding five defenders with their first six picks.

Headlining the event for Minnesota was Lewis Cime, drafted in Round 1, and Andrew Booth, a 2nd-Rounder from Clemson.

Unless injuries hit or the summer doesn’t go well for Cine or Booth, both men should expect reasonable playing time early in the 2022 season. Cine is even forecasted to start at free safety by most credible projections.

Yet, there’s an oddity. Cine, a 1st-Rounder, was chosen 10 picks ahead of Booth, but Booth has better odds from sportsbooks to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson defensive back Andrew Booth. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

According to Vegas Insider, Booth is a +2500 moneyline to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year, whereas Cine is down the ladder at +4000. Booth is the 14th most-likely defender to take home honor, and Cine is four spots below at 18th.

The variance is especially strange because Cine is in a safer spot to start this September. Cine must only outduel Camryn Bynum in training camp and preseason to become Minnesota’s primary free safety next to Harrison Smith. Booth, on the other hand, will have to dethrone Patrick Peterson or Cameron Dantzler to start right away.

Don’t be fooled, though. Booth will assuredly see defensive snaps; it’s just not a guaranteed scenario as Cine seems in the late spring.

Dec 4, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

The explanation for Booth’s enhanced odds involves position. Per the history of the award, cornerbacks are more likely to win, evidenced by Marshon Lattimore in 2017 and Marcus Peters in 2015. A safety hasn’t won the prize in 30+ years. The last was Mark Carrier in 1990 with the Chicago Bears.

The award favors linebackers and EDGE rushers, generally speaking. And the Vikings didn’t draft one of those until Round 3, adding Brian Asamoah, a linebacker from Oklahoma. For EDGE rushers, the Vikings notoriously haven’t drafted one of those with 2nd-Round-or-higher draft capital since 2005. His name was Erasmus James.

The battle is uphill for Cine and Booth to win DROY. And Vegas has more faith in Booth.

A Vikings player has never won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Five Vikings rookies have won Offensive Rookie of the Year — Chuck Foreman (1973), Sammy White (1976), Randy Moss (1998), Adrian Peterson (2007), and Percy Harvin (2009).

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).