A Promising Vikings Defender Is Officially Back

Lewis Cine Pitched a Shutout vs. Lions. And Not in a Good Way.
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For various reasons, the Vikings defense will look a lot different in the upcoming season. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores took over from Ed Donatell after only one season. He is expected to run a much more aggressive unit than his predecessor’s cautious approach.

A Promising Vikings Defender Is Officially Back

In addition to the coaching change, many new guys will suit up in a purple uniform. Marcus Davenport replaces Za’Darius Smith, Byron Murphy substitutes his form former Cardinals teammate Patrick Peterson, and Brian Asamoah is anticipated to be a starter in the new-looking unit. A returning player from injury could be another key to an improved defense.

A Promising Vikings Defender Is Officially Back
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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded down in the first round in his first draft in charge. He didn’t make a pick with the 12th overall selection and instead chose at position 32. That move was criticized by many. The loud voices were even enhanced when he selected safety Lewis Cine instead of picking Kyle Hamilton, the top player at that position, with the 12th overall pick. Hamilton had a promising debut season, while Cine spent most of it rehabbing a fractured leg suffered in London’s Week 4 game against the Saints. Vikings fans still haven’t seen what he can bring to the table besides some special team plays and preseason snaps.

His career didn’t begin very smoothly as he first lost the camp competition to Camryn Bynum, had to sit on the bench, and then suffered the season-ending injury early in the year. However, after putting in the work, he is now back on the field and can show why the team picked him in the first round.

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Cine was not limited at the start of OTAs (organized team activities) and took reps at safety next to Bynum. One of the two will be a starter when the season kicks off in a safety pairing with veteran Harrison Smith. The former first-rounder didn’t have any limitations and is a full-go.

I feel like I have been going, It’s not like things are being toned down. I’ve just been going like everyone else and I feel great.

Lewis Cine

It’s good to know that he feels comfortable, and it doesn’t appear to be a lingering injury. When he was asked if it feels good to finally talk about football and not the injury, he said:

I’m really happy that we can start talking about football and the defense and all that. That excites me. No more (questions about the) injury.

The Vikings released a short video of Cine moving in a drill, and he looked fantastic.

Cine could be a big part of the defensive turnaround. There was a reason why the team selected him in the first round. He came out of Georgia, where he won the national title, and played a crucial part in the dominant defense. His speed is eye-opening on tape. Safeties with a 4.36 40-yard dash are rare. In addition to that, he brings exciting aggressiveness, something the 2022 unit lacked. While he was drafted before Flores entered the building, he certainly fits his style of defense. Cine was asked about what excites him the most about the new-looking defense.

(This defense puts) guys in places where it plays to their strengths. We’re not all just pieces where you fit just because. You’re going to play to your strengths and just dominate.

Could Move Down
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The safety is one of four 2022 rookies who could play a significant role in the new Flores unit. Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth could win a starting cornerback job, and Brian Asamoah will take over for Eric Kendricks as an off-ball linebacker.

Expect to see the 23-year-olf safety flying all over the field in the preseason. His recovery was flawless, and the fact that he is full-go with about two months to go until the start of training camp is promising.

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