Minnesota’s injury troubles haven’t been as awful as some teams, but there have been significant losses nonetheless. Lewis Cine is out for the season, and Andrew Booth is still seeing limited playing time due to his injury. Otherwise, Minnesota’s greatest foe may be the fatigue of a long season. 18 weeks and an early bye week mean the Vikings will play every week after the upcoming bye week, can they cope?
Minnesota’s rookie class so far has been seen sparingly on the field. The aforementioned Andrew Booth and Lewis Cine both had injuries, Cine’s lasting the full season after the London game, and Booth seemingly ready to go after the bye week. Ed Ingram has been inconsistent but a starter nonetheless, and Brian Asamoah himself is slowly working his way into some playing time. Other than these few players, Minnesota’s rookie class is likely still developing and won’t be seen on the field unless as a last option. This coaching staff looks to be prioritizing the veterans and the development of rookies over forcing them onto the field before they’re ready. This team isn’t tanking and trying to find young talent they can potentially develop, they’re trying to win. It’s likely not to expect any more appearances from the rookie class other than Booth and Ingram for the foreseeable future.
As for the vets, it’s a little up and down. Jordan Hicks is a solid tackler but there are moments where he’s caught out of coverage. Harrison Smith and P2 had a great bounce back game in Miami where both notched an interception each, but the play outside of this is again spotty. Cam Dantzler is improving and beginning to show that lock down potential we saw at Mississippi State, and Cam Bynum is starting to show flashes as well. These improvements are promising, but there are still some holes throughout the defense. The secondary will assumingly receive a great boost when Andrew Booth comes back, but that doesn’t improve Minnesota’s quality at linebacker. Hicks and Kendricks are playing well but the second level is important now more than ever in the current scheme and the team simply lacks the quality.
Many Vikings fans are predicting, or at least hoping, for a big trade at the deadline to shore up the depth. It’s predicted to either be a secondary player or a linebacker to greatly alleviate the pressure put on the current starters and it’d certainly be a welcomed boost. The team has depth, but not in the places it needs. The team needs another veteran linebacker, and perhaps another safety. As good as Bynum and Metellus have been, Minnesota needs another player for the rotation, same with the corners. Booth can become a starter but the team would still need another corner to slot in and take snaps off of P2’s shoulders.
Minnesota’s depth is a little all over the place, it’s great with the pass rush and on offense, but the rest of the defense is sorely missing players to step up. If the coaching staff isn’t willing to let the rookies fill those roles, then maybe a trade would be best to fill in the spots on the roster. Minnesota can have depth, they’re just going to need a little more if they hope to survive the postseason and it’s notorious difficulty.