5 players the Vikings could cut bait with before the 2024 season

Minnesota Vikings CB Akayleb Evans
Minnesota Vikings CB Akayleb Evans / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

After two years of embracing their competitive side, the Minnesota Vikings are ready to embrace the rebuild in 2024.

Kirk Cousins is gone, J.J. McCarthy is in, and the Vikings' two-year process of getting younger and faster has led to a quick turnover as they head into offseason team activities.

We will learn a lot about the Vikings roster as we get closer to the start of the season, but it’s still worth wondering which players could be on the roster bubble and which players could wind up as surprising cuts before Minnesota opens the year in New York.

5 players the Minnesota Vikings could cut bait with before the 2024 season

Lewis Cine - S

Cine was selected under strange circumstances as the Vikings traded back 20 spots in the 2022 draft before selecting him with the 32nd overall pick. Armed with a strong athletic profile, many thought he would be a chess piece for Ed Donatell’s defense and then Brian Flores’s defense, but it hasn’t panned out in his first two seasons.

Some of this isn’t Cine’s fault, as Donatell’s uncreative scheme and a broken leg in London sabotaged his rookie season. But Cine couldn’t find playing time under Flores either and was inactive for most of the second half of the 2023 season.

The Vikings would take a $2.2 million loss by cutting Cine during training camp but there’s no longer a spot on the roster with Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum and Josh Metellus locked into major roles and Theo Jackson playing as the fourth safety during OTAs. Already entering his third season, it appears Cine’s time in Minnesota may be over.

Andrew Booth Jr. - CB

You’re going to see a lot of names from the 2022 draft class on this list and the second player the Vikings selected is also on the roster bubble. Booth came in with the ability to become a shutdown cornerback out of Clemson but injuries and poor play could have him playing for a job during training camp.

Booth raised a red flag when he admitted he hadn’t been healthy since high school moments after he had been drafted. He then underwent season-ending knee surgery after allowing 13 catches on 15 targets over two games last season before playing a limited role with 151 total snaps in 2023.

Booth showed some improvement, allowing four catches on eight targets with a pass breakup last year, but it’s such a small sample size that it may not matter. With the additions of Shaquille Griffin and Khyree Jackson, Booth could be on the roster bubble during training camp.

Akayleb Evans - CB

Another pick in the 2022 class, Evans had a promising start and earned a starting job before concussions forced him to the sideline in his rookie season. But Evans took a step back in his second year and could be a cut candidate heading into the season.

Evans found more playing time than his classmate Booth, but his promotion was out of necessity more than performance. Evans allowed a 119.9 passer rating on 22 targets during his rookie season and allowed 48 catches on 69 targets with three touchdowns and four penalties (one declined) last season.

Evans’s tackling also took a turn for the worse as his missed tackle rate jumped from 9.5 percent in his rookie season to 21.4 percent last year. His 18 missed tackles tied for the league lead with teammate Byron Murphy.

The Vikings need better tackling from their corners, and with a much smaller contract than Murphy, Evans could be let go if he can’t figure it out.

Brian Asamoah - ILB

Look, it’s another member of the 2022 draft class! Asamoah was selected with the 66th overall pick in that draft and looked to be on his way to a starting role after flashing during his rookie season. But he was passed by Ivan Pace Jr. during training camp and played just 36 total snaps last season after playing 121 snaps in 2022.

Ankle and shoulder injuries may have played a role in Asamoah’s playing time but he doesn’t have a clear path to get on the field. Pace will return for a starting role while the Vikings added versatile linebackers Blake Cashman and Andrew Van Ginkel, who can both play on the inside as well as an edge rusher position.

With Flores also known to put four safeties on the field, the Vikings may not be willing to carry an excessive amount of true linebackers, leaving Asamoah as another member of a lost draft class.

Patrick Jones II - EDGE

While the 2022 draft class was disappointing, the third round of the 2021 draft class has the same effect. Kellen Mond, Chazz Surratt, and Wyatt Davis have already been released, and Jones could be the next to go this summer.

Jones has been the most productive member of that third round, notching four sacks under Donatell in 2022 but Jones was unable to match that production despite playing all 17 games and making for starts with just 32 total tackles and one sack.

The Vikings lost Danielle Hunter in free agency, but they’ve somehow added a stable of young pass rushers, including Jonathan Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Cashman in free agency and traded up for Dallas Turner in the first round of this year’s draft.

With Gabriel Murphy and Andre Carter II still on the roster as projects, Jones could be the odd man out in the Vikings’ edge rusher room.

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