Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith and rookie cornerback Andrew Booth won’t participate in the team’s Week 3 showdown with the upstart Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Smith hasn’t apparently cleared concussion protocol, and Booth is still nursing a quad injury.
After intercepting Aaron Rodgers in Week 1 — a rare feat for anybody — and tabulating a career-high 13 tackles in Week 2 in Philadelphia, Smith will miss his first game to non-COVID-related injury since 2016.
Booth, on the other hand, hasn’t played much at all, and his absence is less grim than Smith’s. Before the regular season began, Booth was quietly relegated to the bottom of the Vikings CB depth chart as fellow rookie corner Akayleb Evans took his spot. Booth played two special teams snaps and no defensive snaps before succumbing to the quad injury in Week 1.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell wouldn’t declare a starter for Smith, but the choice is seemingly down to veteran Josh Metellus and rookie Lewis Cine. Metellus, a 6th-Round draft choice by Minnesota in 2020, has played 80 career defensive snaps, with 10 so far in 2022. Cine was selected by the Vikings in Round 1 of the draft last April and should probably start based on that fact alone. However, O’Connell was reluctant to make the announcement on Friday. Cine missed Week 1 due to injury but played 19 special teams snaps and a single defensive play versus the Eagles on Monday.
Little changes for the Vikings secondary with Booth’s injury, aside from depth. Based on his depth chart placement, he likely wouldn’t have played much against the Lions this weekend. However, Booth is a 2nd-Rounder, meaning he should get snaps, like Evans, in the near future. But that will have to wait an extra week.
The Eagles shredded the Vikings defense in Week 2, especially in the 1st Half. Minnesota could not stop the run or the pass as Jalen Hurts and Co. registered 486 offensive yards. Waltzing into Week 3 against the Lions shorthanded isn’t ideal because, out of nowhere, Detroit owns one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
Still, that production is only through two games, and the Vikings defense hopes D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown return to orbit in Minneapolis.
The Vikings are six-point favorites to defeat the Lions.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).