The Minnesota Vikings used to employ a head coach that was set on being able to coach up secondary defenders. He was let go while his defense fell apart, and ultimately he stopped having that ability. Needing to fix it, new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected Andrew Booth Jr. with a 2nd round pick in 2022. Boy, has that gone poorly.
When the Vikings took Andrew Booth Jr. in the 2nd round, they knew the only reason he was available at that point was because of his injury history. A star at Clemson, Booth Jr. had the talent to be a 1st round pick, but his availability provided more questions than answers. Minnesota rolled the dice in going talent with substantial risk, and in year one, it’s gone as poorly as one could have hoped to avoid.
After a season-ending knee surgery to repair a meniscus surgery, Booth Jr. has played in just six of the Vikings 11 games. He drew only a single start and made 12 tackles. Working in as a special teams player, Booth Jr. finally found the field with Akayleb Evans out against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. Minnesota got absolutely blitzed in that contest and lost 40-3, but there was reason to be excited that the rookie found his way on the field for good.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of the season, Booth Jr. wound up injured and was inactive in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. It was decided that he needed knee surgery, and revealed Tuesday that his season was over. That’s a crushing blow, but one that has followed a consistent narrative all season long.
Booth Jr. was a late participant to training camp due to injury, and he’s spent more time with different maladies than anyone should over 20 weeks. When looking to shed the reasoning that cost him millions of dollars, there needed to be a greater level of availability shown. At this point, it’s hard to suggest that the former Clemson standout is made of anything but glass.
Only one year into his NFL career, Booth Jr.’s future is hardly written. The bigger problem is that he remains the same cautionary tale that had him falling on draft boards, and he’s done nothing to make it better. If anything, the prognosis for future health looks even worse, and regardless of his athletic ability, there simply may not be a time in which he can realize it.
The Vikings have Booth Jr. for a few more years. His missed development time isn’t ideal, but nothing matters if he can’t ever string together a period of longevity where he shows up on consistent Sundays. Maybe we’ll see that; maybe we won’t. Until we do, nothing about talent or promise holds weight.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.