Vikings Likely to Have Two Rookies Start Week 1

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Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) celebrates with Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL football is almost here, folks. The Vikings take on their rivals – the Packers – in Week 1. In that game, it looks like there will be two rookies who start for the Vikings.

Coming out of the draft, the conventional wisdom may have been that Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. would be the two rookie starters. The safety and corner would have to overcome competition, but there was a path toward a starting spot. Veterans Harrison Smith and Patrick Peterson – both of whom are captains – are holding down one safety and corner spot. Opposite them was a competition.

Alas, it looks like Cine and Booth will be backups.

Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t see playing time. Rather, it’s simply that it looks like both will begin on the bench when the starters jog onto the field for the first time.

We can make this educated guess because the Vikings’ depth chart suggests there are only two rookie starters. Ed Ingram is the RG1 and Ryan Wright is the P1.

Ingram had to earn his spot. For a while, it looked like Jesse Davis – who has since been traded – would be the starter alongside Brian O’Neill. The rookie played well, though, prompting the coaching staff to keep giving him more opportunity. He’ll be tasked with helping to slow down Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, and the rest of the Packers front seven in a few days.

Wright, moreover, surprised many by winning the punting job. I was among those who thought the veteran Jordan Berry would win the job in the end, but that’s a perspective that ended up being misguided. Wright had some truly sensational punts during the preseason, a promising development for Minnesota’s special teams.

Of course, the final chapter hasn’t been written for any of the rookies. Perhaps Luiji Vilain doesn’t start but he becomes an indispensable part of the pass rush. Maybe Cine’s strong play pushes the defensive staff toward more 3-safety looks. It’s possible that Ty Chandler continues to impress, getting some offensive snaps when Dalvin Cook needs to catch his breath.

The point, folks, is that there is still so much ahead of us. It currently looks like two Vikings rookies will start in Week 1. We’ll see how that changes as the season unfolds.

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