Five scenarios as Minnesota Vikings host mini rookie camp

The Minnesota Vikings begin mini rookie camp this week at the TCO Performance Center.

It’s the first chance for the team’s 10 draft picks to step onto the field in a live practice environment for the first time since hearing their names called in the NFL Draft. It’s also the first time Kevin O’Connell and the coaching staff have gotten a live look at their newfound talent.

The Vikings will also have nine undrafted free agents and other prospects on the field, hoping to impress the coaching staff and earn a spot on the roster. Here are five scenarios to watch for as Vikings rookies take to the field.

WILL LEWIS CINE LIVE ON THE HYPE?

The Vikings fell 20 spots, trading within the NFC North Division to take Lewis Cine with the No. 32 pick, the last selection in the first round. He is one of five Georgian defensive players selected in the first round, after the Bulldogs won the 2022 national title. He was a third-team All-American in 2021 and earned second-team All-SEC honors, achieving 73 tackles with one interception and nine pass breakups in 15 starts. At 6-1 and 200 pounds, Cine showed his athleticism at the NFL Combine with a 4.37 40-yard dash and a 36.5-inch vertical.

The hope is that he will complement Harrison Smith this season and eventually take over Smith’s role when his time in the NFL ends.

CAN ED INGRAM HAVE AN INSTANT IMPACT ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE?

It’s no secret that the Vikings’ offensive line has been inconsistent in recent years. They enter the season with Garrett Bradbury, Brian O’Neill, Ezra Cleveland and Christian Darrisaw as returning starters. With an open guard spot, Wyatt Davis didn’t play a single snap as a rookie and the Vikings signed Chris Reed in free agency, along with Austin Schlottman. Draft Ed Ingram out of LSU at No. 59 overall in the second round.

Can Ingram do enough in the offseason to earn a job?

CAN ANDREW BOOTH JR., AKAYLEB EVANS IMPACT HIGH SCHOOL?

The Vikings entered the NFL Draft with Patrick Peterson, Cam Dantzler, Kris Boyd and Harrison Hand as returning high school veterans. They also signed Chandon Sullivan in free agency. The Vikings advanced in the second round to take Clemson defensive back Andrew Booth Jr., then got Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans in the fourth round. If Booth and Evans can impact the Week 1 players, that bodes well for Ed Donatell in their new 3-4 defense.

WILL BRIAN ASAMOAH WIN A LINEBACKER JOB?

The Vikings linebacker room has many names, and it’s led by Eric Kendricks, free agent signing Jordan Hicks, Blake Lynch, Troy Dye and Za’Darius Smith, who will likely play more of a rushing role. The Vikings used the No. 66 third-round pick on Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah. He has the physicality to stop the run and the speed to chase quarterbacks and receivers. He can make an early impact on special teams as he progresses in defense.

CAN A FORMER GOPHERS STAR WIN A DEFENSIVE LINE ROLE?

Getting to quarterback and disrupting the offense is the main focus of the Vikings defense under Donatell. It’s their hope that Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith are the main culprits there. The Vikings also signed Harrison Phillips in free agency and brought back Dalvin Tomlinson. They can also turn to a former Gophers standout, having drafted defensive end Esezi Otomewo in the fifth round at No. 165 overall.

Otomewo finished his Minnesota career with 81 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 44 career games. He will likely start in a depth role on the defensive line.

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