Vikings Safety Is Elite in 1 Category

Vikings Players' Reactions to Win No. 10 
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings just finished a season that can be viewed in two different ways. On one side, the team finished with a 13-4 record and was one of the biggest surprises in the league. The Vikings started to run away with the NFC North early in the season and clinched the division with a win over the Colts, the greatest comeback in NFL history.

However, the postseason was not as successful as the regular season, as the purple team lost the wild card contest against the New York Giants with a horrible defensive showing. Some players got heavily outplayed by their opponents, but that doesn’t take away from the great regular season, including some great accomplishments.

Vikings Safety Is Elite in 1 Category

The Vikings selected Camryn Bynum in the fourth round of the 2021 draft. He was a college cornerback, so folks were surprised when he was announced as safety. Bynum was the backup safety and started in two games for the absent Harrison Smith. Despite the Vikings drafting Lewis Cine, also a safety, in the first round, Bynum clinched the starting job and continued to be the starter all season.

Vikings Safety Is Elite
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Not only did he start all 17 games, but he also did not miss a single defensive snap — an outstanding feat for a defender. Bynum is one of only four defensive players in the league to play every snap. The other three players were Saints linebacker Demario Davis, Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, and Ravens safety Chuck Clark.

It shows Bynum’s toughness and durability, but also his flexibility. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell didn’t have to sub Bynum off for any specific package. He was on the field on 1,161 plays, the second most in the league.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Bynum was a full-time starter for the first time in his career. PFF graded him as the 68th safety of 87 eligible players, which is underwhelming. The center of the defense was susceptible to the passing game. Both shorter and deep passes hurt the Vikings’ defense, and Bynum deserves some part of the blame.

His teammate Harrison Smith will turn 34 years old in a few weeks, and while he is still a great player, he clearly lost a step. The “other” safety used to be an automatic superstar next to Smith, but that’s no longer the case because of his decline. At some point in the near future, Smith will no longer be a part of the Vikings, and the purple team has to find a new safety duo. It’s possible that those two players are already on the team.

Lewis Cine Pitched a Shutout vs. Lions. And Not in a Good Way.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Bynum will have to fight off Lewis Cine once again as soon as he returns to practice after suffering a broken leg in Week 4 when the Vikings beat the Saints in London.

Backup Josh Metellus started in place of Harrison Smith in three games. The special teams ace showed his potential and could also be in the mix for a starting safety job.

The search for the next defensive coordinator is ongoing after the departure of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, and he will decide who will start in 2023. It should be one of the most fascinating position battles in training camp.


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

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