The Lewis Cine Update Is Sublime

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings 1st-Round safety Lewis Cine missed most of his rookie season because of a broken leg, but every ounce of news since the gruesome injury has offered nonstop encouragement.

The trend continued this week from a reliable source, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell.

The Lewis Cine Update Is Sublime

Cine was theorized to return on time for the 2023 season — even after the compound leg fracture — and the plan is on its way to fruition. Minnesota’s defense will look markedly different when Cine returns, chiefly because a new defensive coordinator is in charge, Brian Flores.

Cine Update Is
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell spoke to the media this week and provided a lengthy Cine update, “Lewis is in a great spot right now. He’s well ahead of his rehab process. I see him [every day]. It’s unique to see a player every single day this time of year at the facility, but that’s been Lew. Been in my office a bunch, asking, ‘Hey, when do we get started? Have you set the schedule for OTAs? What’s training camp going to be like?'”

“I said, ‘Just hold on, man. We’re going to be just fine.’ But he’s doing a great job, really excited about Lewis and his mental growth through how he handled adversity of that injury, stay connected with his teammates, and ultimately hopefully this is just going to be a small bump in a great road to Lew becoming the player he’s going to become,” O’Connell added.

No Love for Kevin
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

So, the major takeaway from O’Connell is one primary phrase — “well ahead of his rehab process.” If Cine’s recovery were waffling or unclear, O’Connell would’ve used more diplomatic words — he isn’t afraid to use those — geared at a wait and see approach. But that wasn’t the case.

Last year, Cine was supposed to win a summer camp battle against incumbent safety Camryn Bynum, but the theory fell through. Cine then started to get intermixed in the Vikings special teams and defensive affairs about three games into the season, and by Week 4, he broke his leg in London. Naturally, that was the end of his NFL maiden voyage.

The Vikings Have Oodles of Needs in Next Year's Draft
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

He’ll return to a Vikings defense — presumably this summer — built on aggression, as defined by the newcomer Flores. And wouldn’t you know it? Cine is the type of defender who should slide in Flores’ defense like a baserunner stealing second base. He’s fast, mean, and young — the Flores’ modus operandi.

Minnesota drafted Cine after a controversial trade last year. The Vikings could’ve remained locked into their 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and selected Kyle Hamilton, who became the NFL’s best safety in his first year, according to Pro Football Focus. But general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decided to trade the No. 12 pick for draft capital that would land Cine, Andrew Booth, Ed Ingram, and Brian Asamoah.

And Cine, plus Harrison Smith, the aforementioned Booth, and newcomer Byron Murphy should be the four main ingredients patrolling the Vikings secondary in September.

Cine will turn 24 in October.

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