The Vikings are hoping to find diamond in the rough with the recent turnover of the roster. While many are hopeful that it will be an offensive player to rise to the occasion, if anything became clear last season, it was that there is a significant amount of work that needs to go into the defense.
With that work will come opportunity, and plenty of players on the other side of the ball that have just as good of a claim. One of them that has the best claim is former first-round pick Lewis Cine.
Could Lewis Cine Be The Hidden Gem For The 2023 Minnesota Vikings?
Who Is Lewis Cine?
After being injured for his rookie season, it feels like most Vikings fans have forgotten about the first-round pick they spent the previous year on a defensive stud.
Cine was a standout on the dominant Georgia defense, and he will look to make a name for himself this year. The tape on Cine pops when he is defending the run as he is more than willing to lower his shoulder and blow up the run. His 6’2″ frame gives him a solid chance in contested catch situations. His speed speaks for itself boasting a 4.3-second forty, visible with how fluid he roams sideline-to-sideline.
Who He Will Remind Fans Of?
Anthony Harris was a popular draft comparison for Cine, and there are many similarities between the two. Both have a knack for making plays and being where the ball is.
Like how Cine was not the most notable defender from the Georgia defense, Harris was also one of many from the former dominant defensive units the Vikings assembled. If Cine can replicate the success that Harris had, fans should be pleased, especially after last season.
Earlier in the off-season, it seemed like Harrison Smith was on his way out the door. However, after taking a pay cut, he is here for the foreseeable future. The Vikings have a respect for the hitman, but his time with the Vikings is close to its end.
Even with that being the case, Smith will be the starter with Camryn Bynum opposite of him. While Bynum did play well at times last season, he showed shades of liability, especially in coverage. Like Cine, however, Bynum is stout in the run game.
Why Lewis Cine
The Vikings had an Exodus on defense this offs-eason losing Eric Kendricks, Patrick Peterson, and Za’ Darius Smith. They also replaced Ed Donatell with Brian Flores, who had stellar defensive units everywhere he went.
The message is loud and clear from management: they have to get better and younger. While Smith did return for this season, the Vikings will certainly want to see what they have in Cine.
Minnesota saw what Bynum could do last season but look for them to kick the tires on Cine this season. The team had an all-time bad defense, narrowly beating teams and finishing the year with a negative point differential.
This Vikings unit is filled with younger players looking to make a name for themselves. With opportunity, Cine is bound to produce.
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