Vikings Preseason Rookie Watch

Vikings Preseason Rookie Watch
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings played their first preseason game of the 2022 season. While the game was a losing effort, the performance of the rookies was much more important than the results in the preseason. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected ten players in his first draft in charge, and they all saw their first game action on the NFL level. But how did they do?

In Starting Contention

The top three picks — Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr, and Ed Ingram — are amid battles for a starting job.

Cine started at safety opposite Camryn Bynum. Star safety Harrison Smith, meanwhile, didn’t participate in the game. The first-round pick had a quiet day, especially in the box score, as he recorded just one tackle. However, he looked the part. Cine can fly, and he used his speed to always be near the ball carrier and either make the tackle or help his teammates bring the guy down. He looked like he did on college tape. The safety has speed and the motor to use his athleticism, and he is great at diagnosing plays. There’s a chance that Bynum will keep the starting job early in the year, but Cine will start sooner rather than later. His potential is incredibly high.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Second-round pick Booth is battling with Cameron Dantzler for a job. He had one play that became a big talker, as he was called for pass interference and a facemask penalty on the same play. However, after watching the replay, it didn’t appear like he did anything that warranted a flag. His strength and weakness at the same time is his aggressiveness. It might lead to a few penalties, especially early in his career, but the goal is to have a cornerback with his confidence and aggressive playing style. Other than the penalty, he had a quiet game. The next preseason game and the joint practices with the 49ers will be important for him. Dantzler has the upper hand at the moment.

Ed Ingram looked phenomenal. He opened holes for running backs Nwangwu and Chandler on their big days. There’s no doubt that Ingram outplayed Jesse Davis, who got first-team reps. He’s great in pass protection. In the running game, he can improve, as he had a few reps where he looked lost. Whenever he knew what to do, the defenders were in big trouble. Ingram should earn that starting job soon.

PurplePTSD: Old Viking to Dolphins, Ed Ingram Momentum, MIN-LV Winners and Losers
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Flashing Greatness

Linebacker Brian Asamoah looked like a future star on some plays. His absurd speed for a linebacker was visible to anyone. He possesses sideline-to-sideline speed and absolutely popped Kenyan Drake after a catch. Asamoah also had a phenomenal run stop six yards from the end zone.

It will be extremely tough to get into the starting lineup because Jordan Hicks and Eric Kendricks are phenomenal players. Still, Asamoah could be the future of the Vikings linebacker position.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Ty Chandler might have been the most impressive Vikings player and was one of the winners. He had a huge kick return into the opponent’s territory and registered five carries for 50 yards. Whenever he touched the ball, big things seemed to happen. Chandler is extremely fast and also showed some nice agility and power. He’s an older rookie but has a great future ahead of him. While it’s not common to keep five running backs, there’s no way the Vikings can cut him.

Quiet Game

Cornerback Akayleb Evans somehow managed to play more than half of the game yet wasn’t targeted a single time and also didn’t record a tackle. He did not attract any attention with a good play or with a bad one. He might get tested more during the next few days against the 49ers.

Offensive tackle Vederian Lowe didn’t play until the fourth quarter. He handled the left tackle duties on about a dozen of plays. In the small sample size, he did really well. Especially his pass protection was outstanding. His competition wasn’t great, but he dominated that competition.

Wideout Jalen Nailor had his first snap on a kick return, where he fumbled the ball. He got it back, but it was not a good first impression. On offense, Nailor caught two passes for 22 yards. He caught one pass from Mannion and one from Mond. The two passes were his only targets. It’s a contested wide receiver position, so he needs more run to show what he can do.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive lineman Esezi Otomewo played in the fourth quarter. The Raiders were mainly interested in taking time off the clock, and he managed to secure one solo tackle and three assistant tackles. However, the only notable play was when he diagnosed a screen pass and made the tackle after a short gain.

Tight end Nick Muse played just one snap on offense. It would be incredibly surprising to see him on the 53-man roster.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. 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