One Young Viking Deserves More Playing Time

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Fans have dished out a lot of heat in his direction, but that might’ve been impatient internet fodder.

Go figure.

One Young Viking Deserves More Playing Time

Second-year cornerback Andrew Booth has gradually turned the page on his rookie season, a campaign peppered with injuries and poor performance. Last summer, the Vikings were planning the 2023 depth chart, were skimpy at corner, and Booth couldn’t qualify for a starter’s gig.

So Minnesota Vikings fans panicked, declared the 2022 2nd-Rounder a bust, and blamed the team’s general manager for a horrible draft pick. Then, however, Booth began to stack a commendable second act, brick by brick.

Viking Deserves More
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And don’t look now, but out of necessity, Booth could start for the Vikings on New Year’s Eve against the Green Bay Packers, a defacto playoff game between the rivaling clubs. Rookie corner Mekhi Blackmon did not practice on Wednesday. Neither did Byron Murphy. Akayleb Evans was benched during Minnesota’s loss to Detroit on Christmas Eve.

If Booth does get the call, his 2023 resume indicates he’ll be ready. The Clemson alumnus has produced a 68.6 Pro Football Focus in his second season, a climb from 45.3 in 2022. Long story short — Booth played poorly in 2022 but commendably so far in 2023.

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In fact, in a limited sample — 111 snaps this season — Booth has a higher PFF score than Jaire Alexander, James Bradberry, Jamel Dean, Xavien Howard, Marlon Humphrey, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Peterson, and Joey Porter Jr., among others.

Via another metric, these are the Vikings cornerbacks’ 2023 passer-rating-against statistics after Week 15:

  • Andrew Booth = 82.4
  • Mekhi Blackmon = 84.9
  • Byron Murphy = 97.8
  • Akayleb Evans = 111.8
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Back in October, Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores said about Booth, “You know, he’s done a really good job in practice. We’d kind of seen that over the course of two, three weeks. And Mekhi had been playing well, too. But we just felt like ‘Hey, let’s give Andrew an opportunity.’ I thought he did a nice job with his snaps throughout the game. Made some good tackles, coverage was competitive. So he did some good things.”

That hasn’t totally translated to a starter’s job, but Booth has not disappointed during his sophomore campaign. It really just feels like he needs defensive snaps to secure staying power on Minnesota’s depth chart — which could arrive this weekend if Murphy and Blackmon are injured or Evans remains benched.

Fears Confirmed: Vikings Rookie Lost for Season
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The Vikings are favored to defeat the Packers by two points.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by