Gifted Vikings Defender Is ‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster’ than Last Year

Minnesota Vikings fans celebrate their win. The New York Giants lose to the Minnesota Vikings, 28-10, in NFL Week 5 on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

OTAs are ongoing at the Vikings practice facility in Eagan. Justin Jefferson and Danielle Hunter are absent as they are awaiting new contracts.

Gifted Vikings Defender Is ‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster’ than Last Year

The OTAs are mandatory, so that should not be considered a big deal. They are expected to sign huge contracts and don’t want to jeopardize that by getting injured, an understandable reason to stay away from the field. Other players are competing to make an impression on coaches and teammates.

Gifted Vikings Defender
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One of those players is second-year cornerback Andrew Booth. The defender missed most of his rookie campaign because of multiple injuries, but he’s back on the field and is wowing teammates.

Wide receiver K.J. Osborn and Booth had a collision in practice, which is not supposed to happen at this part in the offseason. However, it does happen at times. Thankfully, nobody got hurt in the incident. Osborn talked about it and praised his teammate, Booth.

It’s football, being competitive. He’s out there trying to work at his craft. He’s been working all offseason to get back out here. He’s bigger, he’s stronger, he’s faster. I talked to him, I mean, I can tell. He’s excited to get out here, I’m excited to work and get better and just compete. Of course we want to stay off the ground, but if you happen to go down, we’ll bite it.

K.J. Osborn

The cornerback receiving praise is encouraging because this is a big year for Booth after a lost rookie season. He first missed time to recover from a core muscle surgery, then suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason that forced him to miss time in the regular season, and then he missed the second half of his debut season because of meniscus surgery.

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Booth started one game in 2022 and played in six but only made it onto the field for 105 snaps on defense and 40 on special teams. His stat sheet shows 12 solo tackles.

When they selected him in the second round, the Vikings expected Booth to come in and contribute to the defensive backfield somewhat immediately. Many viewed the Clemson prospect as a first-round pick and one of the top options behind stars Sauce Gardner and Derek Stingley.

Injuries derailed him, and he never got a hold of NFL football. Booth struggled to stay with the receivers without making contact when he was on the field, which is not surprising after he missed significant parts of the offseason, training camp, and preseason. Duke Shelley replaced him because of his problems.

Vikings Unveil Footage
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Now healthy, Booth is in the race to win the second outside starting CB job for the Vikings and new defensive coordinator Brian Flores next to Byron Murphy, the team’s top addition. The other guys competing for that job are fellow 2022 draftee Akayleb Evans, rookie Mekhi Blackmon, and free-agent signing Joejuan Williams. The CB group has been a struggle in Minnesota for a while, and the potential emergence of Booth could fix that once and for all.

The former college star has always struggled with injuries in his career, so seeing him healthy is encouraging and the first step to getting ready for the season. He will turn 23 in September.

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