The Minnesota Vikings didn’t need Lewis Cine to stimy the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, knocking off the primary rival 23-7 at U.S. Bank Stadium. But head coach Kevin O’Connell provided an update about Cine on Monday.
Recovering from a minor knee injury, O’Connell expects Cine ready for Monday Night Football next week when the Vikings visit the Philadelphia Eagles.
O’Connell said his rookie safety is “chomping at the bit to get going.”
Cine was drafted by the Vikings with the 32nd overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft after an out-of-nowhere trade with the Detroit Lions. He was considered the second- or third-best safety in the draft behind Kyle Hamilton — who the Vikings could’ve drafted — and a member of the plentiful Georgia Bulldogs draft class. Most forecasted Cine as a starter to begin the 2022 season, but incumbent safety Camryn Bynum wasn’t ready to surrender his job.
Moreover, Cine didn’t conduct a summer of dreams for the Vikings but also didn’t struggle. He just wasn’t as good as Bynum in July and August. Accordingly, Bynum earned the starting job on the Vikings depth chart.
And Bynum shined versus Green Bay, tallying a 73.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, the fifth-best by a Vikings defender in Week 1. He did nothing to relinquish his job, instead building on a commendable rookie campaign where Bynum scored a 78.3 PFF score.
So, when Cine returns — probably on Monday night — he’ll be intermixed in addition to Bynum. Only two rookies played Sunday for the Vikings, right guard Ed Ingram and cornerback Akayleb Evans. Rookie CB Andrew Booth played two special teams snaps and was hurt,
Cine was First-Team All-SEC, a national champion, and National Championship Defensive MVP at Georgia.
The Eagles are favored by two points to beat Cine and the Vikings in Philadelphia.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).