Vikings 1st-Round Pick Suffers Injury Ahead of Season: Report

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine, the team’s first-round pick in 2022, suffered an injury at practice Monday, August 21, that left him sidelined for the remainder of the day.

Star Tribune reporter Andrew Krammer posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Cine was limping after a special teams drill and was “favoring his right hip/leg.”

“Looks like Cine is done for the day,” Krammer wrote. “He’s watching DB drills off to the side after getting checked out by medical staff. Favoring right hip/leg.”

Vikings S Lewis Cine at Risk of Missing Final Preseason Game

In his second season since being selected 32nd overall in the 2022 draft, Cine has been working back from a lower leg fracture he suffered in Week 4 of the 2022 regular season.

Cine has been a full participant at training camp, playing plenty of reps in the first two preseason games as the Vikings try to evaluate him after his missing most of the 2022 season. He had seven tackles and a sack against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, August 19.

The Vikings face the Arizona Cardinals in their final preseason game on August 26. If Cine can’t play Saturday, only Theo Jackson and Jay Ward would be available, considering veterans Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum and Josh Metellus were not expected to dress for the game.

If that’s the case, Minnesota should consider signing a safety to play in the Cardinals game.

Polarizing Reviews of Vikings S Lewis Cine So Far

This preseason, Cine has flashed the explosiveness that he was highly scouted for back at Georgia, which is a positive considering the compound fracture he suffered less than a year ago.

But to say Cine is the third-string safety at this juncture in his career is a disappointment. First-round picks are expected to contribute right away to their teams, but even before his leg fracture last October, Cine was playing only on special teams.

Vikings Wire reporter Matt Anderson called out the criticism of Cine after he missed a tackle that went for a touchdown against the Titans. Anderson pointed out the fact he’s learning a new defense and coming back from a major injury.

“Dude literally had minimal playing time as a rookie before suffering a compound fracture. Spent the whole offseason rehabbing and learning a new defense,” Anderson posted on X on August 21.

Sumer Sports vice president Eric Eager, formerly the lead analyst at Pro Football Focus, replied, saying that Cine not making an impact his rookie year combined with little ground gain so far this season is enough cause for concern.

“I think the fact that he had minimal playing time as a rookie before the injury is a valid reason to be down on him, especially considering he’s not playing now for the same reasons,” Eager said.

Brian Flores’ defense is complex with reads for every position, leaving Cine to dissect plays instead of reacting while still learning the system. There is a role for Cine in the defense, especially close to the line of scrimmage, and he still has plenty of opportunities to make an impact entering Year 2.

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