The Minnesota Vikings made a big move down the order in the 2022 NFL Draft. They traded the No. 12 overall pick to the Detroit Lions, along with No. 46, in exchange for No. 32, 34 and 66. It was the first draft move of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who took over the job from Rick Spielman this offseason.
With the final pick in the first round, the Vikings selected Georgia safety Lewis Cine. It is a move that will raise some eyebrows and be discussed for years to come, as Minnesota passed on the chance to select Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 12, completing the trade with the Lions instead.
We will have to see what the Vikings get with their other two selections in the deal before making a full evaluation, but right now, it is skeptical at best. Hamilton was the No. 1 rated safety in this year’s class and one of the top-rated players overall, but he slid down to No. 16, getting selected by the Baltimore Ravens, as safety isn’t looked at as a premium position around the league.
Minnesota is certainly happy to have Cine in the mix, and he is happy to be a Viking. He is ready to prove the organization right for using a first-round pick on him.
Cine could eventually be groomed to take over the defensive backfield from star safety Harrison Smith. For now, he has a chance to step into the starting lineup alongside Smith if he can beat out Cam Bynum.
But, there is a chance that all three can play on the field together. Cine is a versatile player, as he can play either the free safety or strong safety position. He also has experience lining up as a slot cornerback and linebacker, so he can become a moveable chess piece for defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Instinctive, long and athletic with top-end speed, Cine has a very bright future in the NFL. He will have a chance to learn from the very best in Smith before hopefully taking over as the leader in the backend of the Vikings’ defense.