Meet the Vikings’ Almighty Roster Bubble Player

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The Minnesota Vikings will have oodles of training camp battles in July and August, notably involving positions like cornerback, tight end, kicker, punter, and WR3, to name a few.

Meet the Vikings’ Almighty Roster Bubble Player

Another will occur at safety — which is really just code for one man, the Vikings’ almighty roster bubble emblem: Lewis Cine.

Young Viking Tabbed as
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings made Cine the very first pick of the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah + Kevin O’Connell era 26 months ago, and the team’s fans have spent 26 months wishing the club Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton. In fact, it’s all some folks talk about, refusing to let draft bygones be draft bygones.

Cine made the club last year, freshly healed from a broken leg he suffered in October 2022, just four games into his rookie season. The forecast last summer was lofty for the young defender, but then training camp and preseason arrived, and it became rather evident that Cine was running with clear reservist players.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Thereafter, the 2023 season took place, and Cine saw defensive action on eight measly plays — in garbage time during a blowout at home versus the Green Bay Packers. Aside from special teams action, that was it for Cine in Year No. 2.

Now, Cine could make the 2024 regular season roster, get traded for a late-round draft pick, or experience a roster cut at the end of August. Those are the stakes. Overall, he is the Vikings roster bubble candidate, a blend of 1st-Round draft stock, injury history, once-high expectations, and general confusion from onlookers about his ceiling.

Injured Vikings Rookie Lewis Cine Looks Great
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports. peeled back the curtain a bit on Cine’s 2024 activities this week, too. “Cine was among the players who remained in Minnesota to close out the offseason program last week and took plenty of reps in those sessions. Prior to last week, he had mostly been working with the developmental groups on a field separate from the first team,” Craig Peters wrote. “Because we can’t watch and cover both fields at once very well, I didn’t see too much of what was going on among the developmental field.”

That sounds like the antithesis of a former 1st-Rounder on the brink of seizing a starter’s job or even a roster spot.

Last week, The Draft Network identified Cine as a “make or break” player. “Cine continues to be at the forefront of the borderline historically bad 2022 class as the first-round pick. In fairness, Adofo-Mensah fared better in 2023, adding wide receiver Jordan Addison to an already elite supporting cast, TDN’s Justin Meloo opined. “The cherry on top would see Cine finally meeting his potential this season to rewrite the story on Adofo-Mensah’s debut draft.”

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

While Cine reaching his potential would indeed be pretty sweet, his summer status is about merely making the 53-man roster. Above all else, he’s the quintessential roster bubble — the bubble itself, even.

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).

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