Vikings fans are used to disappointments. In recent years, fans of the purple team experienced many of them. Last season, the team missed the postseason after losing multiple heartbreakers in the final seconds. Especially the losses against inferior teams hurt.
One year prior, in 2020, the script was basically the same. A bad start, losses against inferior teams, and inconsistencies cost Mike Zimmer’s team the playoffs and eventually the job.
Followers of the organization are not only used to disappointing teams but also know how it feels when players let them down. Kickers missing crucial kicks is the best evidence of that.
Every NFL GM has some misses, and Rick Spielman is no exception. Especially two selections didn’t have a lot of success.
Garrett Bradbury comes to mind, who enters the final year of his contract. His three seasons as a starter were a big letdown after fans thought he would be the center of the franchise for a decade. He added some weight in the offseason and hopes to get his career back on track.
Laquon Treadwell is another draft ‘bust.’ In four seasons for the Vikings, he just recorded 701 yards and two touchdowns. Therefore, he didn’t get a contract extension. In 2020, he landed on the Falcons roster but didn’t contribute a lot, and he finished the year with just 49 yards. Last season, he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and had a bounce-back year with Trevor Lawrence. ‘Megaquon’ will try to build on that.
The organization did not only fire coach Zimmer, but Rick Spielman was also part of the regime change. In his first draft, the new GM Adofo-Mensah selected two defensive backs with his first two selections. He had to take a lot of criticism for trading in his own division but came out of the draft with two good draft picks, Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr.
Booth Viewed as Possible 2022 Disappointment
However, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton wrote the article ‘1 Player on Every NFL Team Who Could Disappoint in 2022‘, and his choice for the Vikings was Andrew Booth. The 21-year-old was the 42nd selection in the draft.
“Considered a first-round pick heading into the 2022 draft, Andrew Booth Jr. went through a couple of bumps on the road over the past few months. Because of a quad injury, Booth didn’t participate in workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also underwent core-muscle surgery, but the Clemson product should be ready to take the field for training camp, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Last month, head coach Kevin O’Connell said the rookie is “really close” to 100 percent.”– Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report, about Andrew Booth possibly disappointing in 2022
The Vikings are no strangers to drafting rookies who require core muscle surgery. Just last year, Christian Darrisaw missed the whole offseason, training camp, the preseason, and the first four games. However, the team sounds confident when they talk about Booth and his comeback. Moton added:
“The Vikings have cornerback Cameron Dantzler, who allowed a 54.1 percent completion rate and a 74.7 passer rating in coverage last year, and they re-signed Patrick Peterson. They don’t have to rush Booth into a full-scale workload right away. No one should be surprised if Booth comes off the bench to start the season and has to wait his turn behind Dantzler and a solid veteran in Peterson. In the event that one of the two returning starters goes down, Booth should be the primary backup to fill in on the boundary, but the coaching staff may ease him into the rotation if he’s limited through training camp.”– Maurice Moton
Indeed, Dantzler played some good football last season. Curiously, he still couldn’t surpass Beshaud Breeland on the depth chart despite his atrocious play. Apparently, Zimmer had a problem with Dantzler, which landed him in his doghouse.
Expectations for Rookies Should Be Lowered
A player disappoints if he can’t meet expectations. For example, Bradbury couldn’t play up to the sky-high expectations. However, the calculation is easy. If the fans of the purple team had the same expectations they have now about the center in 2019, he wouldn’t have disappointed. The expectations for Brian O´Neill in 2018 were lower, and he exceeded them by far. If the fans expected Hall of Fame play, he wouldn´t have met the expectations, just like Bradbury.
Of course, higher draft selection means more pressure. The expectations for Booth should be that he’s a backup to start the season who has a chance to surpass one of the starters at some point. Most rookie cornerbacks go through a phase of struggling because they have to adjust to better receivers and quarterbacks. In addition, they have to learn a new scheme, and the rules are different. Booth getting used to the higher level is even more challenging because of his injury.
He might take some time to get ready, and fans should stay calm if he doesn’t immediately start or has some bad reps at the beginning. He has all the tools to eventually become an excellent cornerback. It just won’t happen in Week 1.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt