Entering the 2022 NFL off-season in rough salary cap shape, the Minnesota Vikings knew they would turn to rookies to fill out the depth chart. After all, first-year players on rookie contracts do come cheaper.
Come the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 28th-30th, the Vikings achieved just that. After a flurry of trades and movement around the draft board, the Vikings exited with 10 total selections. In the end, Minnesota came away with the following prospects:
- Round 1, Pick 32: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
- Round 2, Pick 42: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
- Round 2, Pick 59: Ed Ingram, G, LSU
- Round 3, Pick 66: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
- Round 4, Pick 118: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
- Round 5, Pick 165: Esezi Otomewo, EDGE, Minnesota
- Round 5, Pick 169: Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina
- Round 6, Pick 184: Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois
- Round 6, Pick 191: Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State
- Round 7, Pick 250: Nick Muse, TE, South Carolina
Minnesota did add some offensive prospects in the later rounds, but the defense was certainly an area of focus in the draft. As the new year inches closer and off-season programs begin ahead of the preseason, here are three of those rookies who could step up and stand out in their rookie campaigns in 2022.
Minnesota Vikings Rookies Who Could Stand Out in 2022
Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.
Andrew Booth Jr. could be one of the rookie players who sees the most action and success during his rookie season in 2022, and he could play a large role in the Vikings defense right out of the gate.
Booth, who was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Clemson, is a player who could have easily been a first-round talent but slid to Minnesota in the early picks of the second round. The cornerback has good size and length and fits the competitive characteristic mold of many of his new teammates in purple and gold.
Booth will jump right into a cornerback unit that struggled in 2021, giving up the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL during the year. His strength, agility, and ball skills will certainly help Minnesota’s defense in shoring up issues in that area of the defense.
In his final season in Clemson in 2021, his junior year, Booth played in 11 games for the Tigers, totaling 37 tackles and three interceptions. He finished his career with 75 tackles, five interceptions, one sack, and one fumble recovery in 35 games.
Safety Lewis Cine
Lewis Cine is the player everyone will have their eyes on in 2022, given the fact he was the first player selected by the Vikings with the final selection in the opening round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Cine was the 32nd overall pick by Minnesota after he completed a three-year career at Georgia.
Cine and his aggressive nature will place him right in the thick of things of a Vikings defense that shares similar traits. Alongside Harrison Smith at the back end of Minnesota’s defense, the safety will use his downhill approach to lock down opposing offenses.
Before the draft, Cine was viewed as NFL-ready. A player who can immediately see plenty of time playing for Minnesota’s defense. As well as one who can acclimate well having come from SEC play. That alone should help him out of the gate as a pro.
In his junior season in 2021, Cine finished the year playing in 15 games for Georgia, tallying 73 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one interception. Over his three-year career, the safety finished with 145 tackles and two interceptions in 39 total games.
Linebacker Brian Asamoah
Brian Asamoah could see plenty of time at linebacker in Minnesota during his rookie season, especially as the Vikings transition away from the duo of Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr at the position as we’ve seen in years past to featuring Kendricks as the headlining player. However, Asamoah will find the field throughout the year and could end up seeing extended playing time in the middle of the defense as the year progresses.
Asamoah, who was selected out of Oklahoma in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, is an explosive, on-ball linebacker who we could see all over the field beginning in 2022. Asamoah not only has already shown his ability and promise this off-season during workouts, but he has the confidence to succeed right out of the gate with the Vikings. Those traits should set the linebacker up for success if his play begins to follow his mentality.
Asamoah completed his third season with the Sooners in 2021, appearing in 12 games while starting in 10 of those games. The linebacker recorded career-highs with 90 tackles and two forced fumbles, also recording one sack and four tackles for loss. He concluded his three-year career in Oklahoma with 179 tackles along with 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception in 37 games and 19 starts.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images