Vikings Rookie to Debut on Grand Stage

Vikings Rookie to Debut on Grand Stage
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Lewis Cine missed Week 1 because of an “old” knee injury as his team defeated the Green Bay Packers 23-7 to start 2022.

Vikings brass insisted Cine’s injury wasn’t serious — and they told the truth. Cine is set to debut on Monday Night Football versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Darren Wolfson from KSTP caught up with Cine on Friday, and the rookie was stoked to preview his NFL maiden voyage.

Cine produced a relatively quiet summer — especially for a 1st-Round draft pick — failing to win a starting job opposite Harrison Smith in Minnesota’s secondary. But not every rookie grabs the summer by the ears right away. Instead, second-year safety Camryn Bynum starts at free safety, and there is no imminent plan to change.

The Vikings traded for Cine after offloading the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft to the Detroit Lions. The transaction raised eyebrows as selling teams generally “impose their will” when trading such high draft picks. And the Lions are a division rival. Fans considered the trade taboo when Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled the trigger.

Still, the Vikings slid back twenty spots while stockpiling later-round selections. These were the Vikings trade spoils, which began with the trade back for the pick netting Cine:

Trade Lions
Image Courtesy of @purplebuckeye on Twitter

Cine should experience some defensive snaps against the Eagles but will be a primary special teams participant, according to Vikings special teams coordinator Matt Daniels. Daniels told reporters this week Cine would “immediately be emerged into significant roles in all four phases” of special teams.

And this is the drill when a team has two starting safeties in Bynum and Smith. Minnesota drafted Cine with eyes on the future — when Smith retires; he’s 33 years old — so acclimating him gradually into the defense is acceptable. Plus, if Bynum our Smith were injured, Cine would be the next man up, much like Bynum’s ascent to prominence when Smith was injured in 2021.

The Vikings defense fared just fine without Cine against the Packers last weekend. After Week 1, Minnesota ranked fourth-best in the NFL per EPA/Play.

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).

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