We are mere days away from the Minnesota Vikings kicking off Training Camp in Eagan, which means that list-a-mania season is just about finished. But, there’s still room for a couple more before things really get started.
Over at TouchdownWire, a part of USA Today, Jordy McElroy has selected the most overrated and underrated players on each team going into the 2022 NFL season. The choices for the Vikings might raise a couple of eyebrows, so let’s take a look at them.
We’ll start on the overrated side, where McElroy picks a player that hasn’t played a snap for the Vikings yet. Heck, he hasn’t even signed his rookie contract. That’s cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.
Rookie second-round draft pick Andrew Booth Jr. might be the future in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the present. Cam Dantzler isn’t the sexy pick to start opposite of Patrick Peterson at cornerback, but he might be the most reliable at this point. Booth is coming off a sports hernia surgery, which has kept him from fully participating in the spring practices. So he’ll be playing catch-up with the defense as a rookie, while also competing with the more experienced player in Dantzler. Booth could end up being the most “overrated player” on the Vikings due to him not getting on the field.
I’m not sure if not getting on the field is going to make Booth overrated, honestly. There are plenty of folks out there that we’ve seen this offseason that think Dantzler is ready to take a step forward now that he’s officially out of Mike Zimmer’s doghouse (for whatever reason he was in there to start with). I do understand the concern about Booth being behind the curve because of his recovery from surgery, but even if he doesn’t crack the starting lineup right away because of it he’s still likely going to get plenty of playing time this year in the rebuilding Vikings’ secondary.
The pick for most underrated player is a guy that a lot of us wanted to see more of last year in running back Kene Nwangwu.
There has been so much talk about Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison that backup running back/return specialist Kene Nwangwu has flown completely under the radar heading into the 2022 season. It’s too bad considering he’s the real-life Barry Allen with the ball in his hands, and then he turns into the Flash when he’s leaving defensive players choking on his smoke in the rearview. The game-breaking speed is there, along with the ability to make defenders miss tackles in the open field. Even if he doesn’t take Mattison’s job as the lead backup, the former Iowa State standout will consistently find his way on the field more than he did last season. There’s far too much playmaking ability for the Vikings to look the other way.
Nwangwu’s situation last year sort of mirrors what McElroy is worried about with Booth this year. He was injured on the first kick return of the preseason, wound up on injured reserve as a result, and missed the first six weeks of the season. When he finally got on the field, however, we all saw what he could provide in the return game. Hopefully this preseason he can stay healthy and get some more work actually doing running back things in the games that don’t count so that he can be used more frequently on offense to utilize his game-breaking speed.
What do you think of these picks for the most overrated and underrated Vikings heading into the new season?