‘Under Pressure’ Vikings Defender Received Positive News

After 2 Friday Trades, Vikings Draft Coveted CB
Andrew Booth Jr.

A couple of weeks into training camp, some Vikings are already under heavy pressure. The 2022 draft class had an underwhelming first professional season, and especially the top picks stayed way below expectations because of injuries and struggling play. Lewis Cine missed most of his rookie campaign because of a freak injury, Ed Ingram was one of the league’s worst guards, and Andrew Booth barely played.

‘Under Pressure’ Vikings Defender Received Positive News

Vikings Under Pressure Defender Received Positive News
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Booth is under pressure. He entered the NFL with injury concerns and revealed that he has never been healthy since his high school days. A hamstring injury slowed him down during last year’s camp and ended up costing him the beginning of the regular season. Later in the year, he suffered a meniscus injury and was placed on IR – his season was over. Booth started just one game as a rookie and played in six contests on only 105 defensive snaps and 40 on special teams.

Fast forward one year, expectations are still high for the former second-rounder, but he left practice a few days ago with an injury. The Vikings didn’t reveal anything about it, but the good news came on Saturday. Booth can return to the practice field on Sunday.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted on Saturday: “Vikings CB Andrew Booth Jr. was on the field for today’s walk-thru and said that the injury he suffered in practice last week is “nothing serious.” He said he thinks he’ll be “back on the grass” — i.e., participating in full practice — by tomorrow.”

Booth is currently behind his teammates and competitors in the running for the starting cornerback gigs. Free agent addition Byron Murphy is the unquestioned CB1. He has looked best in training camp and has the most experience. There is a reason why the Vikings spent big money on him.

The competition begins behind him. Akayleb Evans is almost exclusively running with the first team and appears to be the frontrunner to be the starting outside cornerback opposite Murphy. Joejuan Williams, also a former second-round pick, began training camp with the first team, but rookie Mekhi Blackmon usurped him and is the favorite for the nickel cornerback job.

It is time for Booth to live up to the hype he was receiving before his draft when he was widely considered to be a first-round pick. His aggressive playing style is a nice fit for Brian Flores’ defense.

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Joe Marino from The Draft Network wrote in his pre-draft scouting report about the Clemson CB:

“He offers an exciting blend of size, athleticism, instincts, physicality, ball skills, and competitive toughness that give him the makeup of an impact starter at the next level. He is a fiery competitor on the field that plays with an alpha mentality. In year one, Booth Jr. has the ability to compete for a starting role and has the makings of a high-level impact starter by year two or three. He is a versatile player that can execute in any coverage technique and has no matchup restrictions. He could even warrant some situational opportunities to play in the slot given his quickness and willingness to trigger and fit the run closer to the box.”

Booth’s way to the field is beating out either Evans or Blackmon, but his top priority must be to stay healthy. The defender will turn 23 in September, and there’s a good chance Vikings fans will get a glimpse of their expensive draft pick in the preseason.

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