People were shocked when the Vikings traded back to the last pick of the first round. The pick was formerly owned by the division rivals from Detroit, who got the pick from the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the trade for Matthew Stafford. Vikings fans were even more shocked when they selected a safety. Not the big name Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton but a safety from Georgia named Lewis Cine.
Nobody predicted that pick. Names floating around included cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Derek Stingley Jr, receiver Garrett Wilson and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson. But nobody ever mentioned Lewis Cine as a potential first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings. It was a good reminder that the draft is truly unpredictable, especially with a new general manager. Adofo-Mensah made his first call as the man in charge on a draft day, and the safety will wear the purple jersey in 2022.
Tatum Everett from the Vikings Entertainment Network talked with ESPN analyst Matt Bowen about Cine. Bowen is an expert in safety play, as he played in the NFL as a safety himself. He was the 198th pick in the 2000 draft. One pick after his selection, the Patriots selected a quarterback. His name is Tom Brady, and he’s still playing.
A ‘Tone Setter’
“From a coaching perspective, I want that guy. I want him in my secondary room because he is a tone-setter. He is an ultimate tone-setter.”
– Matt Bowen, talks about Lewis Cine
The Vikings had their fair share of tone setters at the safety position. Paul Krause still leads the NFL in interceptions. He played with the ‘Purple People Eaters’ and made quarterbacks pay when they couldn’t deal with the pressure from the front four. Shortly after Krause retired, the Vikings got another phenomenal safety in Joey Browner. He was a three-time All-Pro and a fabulous tackler. Two decades later, the Vikings brought in Harrison ‘the Hitman’ Smith, and he is playing at a Hall of Fame level for about a decade now. A true ball hawk and an excellent tackler in his own right.
Lewis Cine is a hard-hitting football player. He comes from the national champions, Georgia Bulldogs. He never takes plays off and plays extremely physical. After the Vikings selected him, multiple clips surfaced of hits in his college career. He is not the safety a receiver wants to see close to him during a catch.
Bowen, however, didn’t stop there. He continued to praise the rookie.
“When you turn on the tape and watch him play, there’s an urgency about him taped. And that is so important when it comes to secondary play. Are you urgent? Do you see it best? When you believe it, you go and make a play. He does that consistently.”
– Matt Bowen, thinks the Vikings got a good one
If you look for urgency, Cine is the man for the job. He’s extremely fast and ran a 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. He doesn’t just run fast in a straight line. He also plays football fast. His testing numbers look exactly like he looks on the field.
Cine trusts his instincts and immediately tries to make a play — a fabulous weapon to have as a defensive coordinator. Ed Donatell can do many different things with him once he gets used to the NFL. Cine will play a big role in the attempt to improve the secondary after struggling in back-to-back years.
Cine’s first career game will come against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 in U.S. Bank Stadium on September 11th. Vikings fans can look forward to seeing explosiveness and aggressiveness from their first-round pick.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt