Welcome to the Real Forno Show, where we bring you an in-depth analysis of the Minnesota Vikings safeties for the upcoming 2023 season! We’re your hosts, Tyler Forness and Producer Dave.
After one week of training camp practices at TCO Performance Center, the Minnesota Vikings have a lot of intriguing battles, and one thing that stood out was the safety group. Five of the six safeties are currently projected to make the roster, and they are worthy of a roster spot. It is a diverse group that can do a variety of things on the back end.
Let’s dive into the safety room. With Smith aging and Metellus’ contract expiring after this year, the safety room is going to be Cine, Ward, and Bynum. That is a really good trio to build upon, and all three can do different things and be versatile on the back end of the defense. Doing so will give Flores the ability to take advantage of matchups in multiple spots. The Vikings could choose to bring back both Smith and Metellus on small deals, but that seems unlikely when they will both hit the free-agent market.
Looking back at the performance of safeties in 2022, the safeties were an interesting group last season. They were asked to play mostly deep in a cover-2 shell or in quarters, hindering the maximum effectiveness of both Bynum and Smith. Smith is at his best when he is able to roam around on the back end of the defense. He can play deep but is at his most effective in the box. Bynum was fine playing as a deep safety, but he got taken advantage of on certain concepts and didn’t have the athleticism to make up ground and compensate for his mistakes. Cine only played in two defensive snaps due to breaking his leg in week four against the New Orleans Saints in London.
Metellus played sparingly as a safety in 2022 but made it count when he did play. He secured the game-winning interception against the Detroit Lions in week three. Metellus was a special teams ace as well, blocking punts in both weeks 16 and 17. He was nothing but solid when he was asked to take the field.
Looking ahead to 2023, this group has really high expectations. Smith can still play at an All-Pro level, and Flores is going to use him in a versatile way. Bynum is in line to be the starter to start the season, but Cine is going to be right on his tail fighting for the job. The hope is that Cine takes the job sooner rather than later because of his draft pedigree and elite athleticism for the position. Metellus was used in three safety packages during minicamp and that has carried over to training camp. His special teams prowess will likely keep him on the team and used in big nickel packages. Ward is a wild card. He has experience playing everywhere on the back end of the defense and could be utilized by Flores in a myriad of ways. Expect him to work a lot in the slot and in the box during his early snaps.
That’s all for today’s analysis of the Minnesota Vikings’ safeties. Join us next time for more insights on the Vikings’ roster. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our channel, and hit the notification bell to stay up-to-date with all the latest news and analysis.
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