Lewis Cine has yet to start a game for Minnesota. Who are a few players the team could have drafted instead of Cine in 2022?
In 2022, the Minnesota Vikings selected former Georgia safety Lewis Cine with the 30th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
During his rookie year, Cine sustained a nasty fracture of his left leg in a Week 4 contest against the New Orleans Saints. The injury kept him out of action for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Cine returned to play this year but has not started in any of the Vikings' first three games. In fact, he has yet to start for Minnesota in his short career.
Although it’s still probably too early to press the panic button or label Cine a bust, one wonders if the Vikings made a mistake when they chose to use their 2022 first-round pick on him.
Here is a look at three players the Vikings could have picked in 2022 instead of Cine.
Player No. 1
Breece Hall - RB
With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Minnesota had no plans to keep Dalvin Cook long-term. Keeping that in mind, it would have made sense to grab Breece Hall with the 30th pick. It’s a crazy coincidence that Cook and Hall are currently teammates with the New York Jets, but they could have been in the same backfield as the Vikings in 2022.
Coming out of Iowa State, Hall was a unanimous and consensus All-American in his final two seasons with the Cyclones. In 2020 and 2021, he ran for 3,044 combined yards and 41 total touchdowns. He could have returned for his senior year, but Hall chose to enter the 2022 NFL Draft, and he was taken with the 36th overall selection by the Jets in the second round.
Through the first six games of his rookie season, Hall was setting the world on fire with two starts, 463 rushing yards, four rushing scores, 19 receptions for 218 yards, and a receiving touchdown. Then, in Week 7, he tore the meniscus and ACL in his left knee against Denver, sidelining him for the remainder of the year.
There’s no way of knowing, of course, if Hall would have sustained a similar injury if he was playing with Minnesota in 2022. However, it is interesting to note that the Vikings were on their bye the same week Hall was injured against the Broncos.
Had Minnesota selected Hall instead of Cine, the team wouldn’t have traded for Cam Akers to help Alexander Mattison with the rushing load this year. It’s also reasonable to think the Vikings would have a more balanced offense and a better record.