Minnesota Vikings first-round draft pick Lewis Cine was expected to have a significant role on the defense long before he even put on his first NFL practice jersey.
Selecting him with the No. 32 overall pick of the 2022 NFL draft was a calculated decision made by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The team missed out on other potential playmakers on both sides of the ball because they saw value in Cine and accumulating more draft picks.
They accomplished both by trading out of the No. 12 spot with the rival Detroit Lions and waiting all the way until the end of Day 1 of the draft to get their man.
So how has the honeymoon been since Cine’s arrival in Minnesota?
Well, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, things have pretty much gone as expected. Cine’s superpower in the secondary is his natural ability to fold grown men like lawn chairs. He’s the sort of hard-hitting defensive back that strikes fear into opponents.
However, it’s hard to get a sense of that in helmet and shorts. It won’t be until the pads come on at training camp before we really get to see what Cine has to offer as an NFL rookie.
“Cine’s top attribute — his ability to deliver a big hit — was by definition invisible during noncontact spring drills. But he has clearly worked his way into the team’s short-term plans, based on the rotational work he received with the first-team defense. Cine is competing with second-year player Camryn Bynum for the starting job opposite Harrison Smith, and his coronation appears inevitable. The only question is whether it will come by Week 1.”
The Vikings didn’t make the moves they did in the draft just so Cine could ride the bench.
Coach Ed Donatell will likely think up ways to get creative with defensive packages to utilize the strengths of Smith, Cine and Bynum to some degree. This isn’t going to turn into a situation where one of the three safeties end up getting left out in the cold.
But it’s hard not to fall in…