The Minnesota Vikings primary battles unofficially scheduled at training camp are for right guard, QB2, TE2, and deciding the starting cornerbacks.
On the latter, rookie CB Andrew Booth took a noteworthy step, if only for a day, toward inserting himself in the mix as a starting corner.
Booth, fruit of the draft-night trade with the Detroit Lions, “won the day” at Wednesday’s first on-the-field segment of Vikings training camp. And he did so with plays like this:
For about half of a decade, Minnesota’s cornerbacks have been immune to actually intercepting the football, instead fancying a “passes-defended” approach that lacks emphasis on snatching the ball out of the sky. There is not a good explanation for the tactic.
Booth, though, showcased a shift from the last few years of Vikings CB play, particularly with the interception in the video. As a man vying for a starting job in Week 1 versus the Green Bay Packers, the start to camp was fantastic.
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah found Booth in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft after the Clemson alumnus’ draft stock fell due to injury. Some credible draft brains foresaw Booth as a late-1st-Round commodity, but he ultimately fell to Minnesota, a team desperately needing a CB of the future alongside Cameron Dantzler.
Booth might just be that guy.
The rookie has a long way to go in dethroning Patrick Peterson or the aforementioned Dantzler, as “one good day” at training camp doesn’t make a career. But the 21-year-old is off to a hot start. Booth told reporters Wednesday he’s been a “sponge” learning from future Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson, and the squeegee effect seems to be working.
Moreover, Booth is cognizant that he must earn the CB job. “I want to win the job, but whoever goes out there and runs out on the field in the first game, they earned it. Whoever it is, they’ll have gotten that much better because everybody is putting fire on [him],” Booth told the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson.
Booth’s weaknesses include health — he missed time in his final season at Clemon — his tackling can improve a smidgen, and he’s been known to be a bit volatile at times, ejected for throwing a punch at a Louisville player as a freshman. Aside from those items, however, Booth is mostly game-ready.
And if the NFL doesn’t work out for him, Booth also told Tomasson he wants to hit the silver screen, “I want to be an actor when this is all done, when football is out of the way, probably in my later years. I definitely want to get into that.”
Perhaps he can capture a Super Bowl ring and ride off to Tinseltown.
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).