A New Update on Lewis Cine’s Recovery

NFL Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings conducted a controversial trade in 2022 with the Detroit Lions on night No. 1 of the NFL Draft. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded his 12th overall pick to Detroit for what would turn out to be Lewis Cine (S), Andrew Booth (CB), Ed Ingram (OL), and Brian Asamoah (LB). The Lions landed Jameson Williams (WR) and Josh Paschal (EDGE).

Fast forward six months, and Cine, the 1st-Round commodity from Adofo-Mensah’s trade, suffered a gruesome injury in London versus the New Orleans Saints. He encountered a compound leg fracture, ending his rookie season.

A New Update on Lewis Cine’s Recovery

Cine personally believed he could return as early as this September for live-game action, and most Vikings fans optimistically agreed.

A New Update on Lewis
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And on Wednesday at the NFL Combine, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell provided a positive update regarding Cine’s recovery. He’s well on his way. O’Connell told reporters, “He’s well ahead in his rehab process.”

This checks out, too, because Cine was seen unusually early in the process flying around at Vikings facilities in Eagan just weeks after the injury. Every update since his awful setback in Europe has been positive, and O’Connell’s NFL Combine musings were no different.

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What’s more, Cine never appeared to have any outward doubts about returning to the Vikings this autumn. The Georgia alumnus told reporters in November about his recovery when asked about a return timetable, “Next season, for sure. That’s for sure. Nothing is going to keep me from playing next season, so I’ll do what I got to do in rehab and come back.”

He also spoke about targeting rehab like its own individual competition, “God willing, that is the goal not to miss any time coming back but it’s a day-to-day process with rehab, make sure I dominate in rehab, so I can come back.”

Predictions for Vikings Rookies
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Cine will rejoin the Vikings this summer with a markedly different defense. Minnesota finished his rookie season with a 13-4 record, NFC North crown, premature playoff exit, and the NFL’s second-worst defense per yards allowed. Minnesota hired Brian Flores away from the Pittsburgh Steelers last month to fix the glitch, and his philosophy is fundamentally the opposite of his predecessor, Ed Donatell.

The Flores hire is wonderful news for Cine, as well. Donatell stubbornly refused to blitz quarterbacks for much of the 2022 season, and well, Flores has no problem with blitzes or all-out aggression on defense. In that vein, a healthy Cine could be totally unleashed in September. Known for his fierce and versatile athleticism, Cine could be the number-one-with-a-bullet option for chaos within a Flores defense.

Cine played 34 special teams snaps and 2 defensive plays as a rookie. Assuming the rest of his recovery goes swimmingly, he should be in line to start opposite Harrison Smith in 2023.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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