The Minnesota Vikings are hoping Andrew Booth Jr. plays a big role in kick-starting the turnaround for a defensive backfield that gave up the fifth-most passing yards in 2021.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso believes the second-round draft pick out of Clemson University has the potential to do exactly that when he steps onto the field in purple as a rookie.
During a mandatory minicamp preview, Booth was listed among possible immediate impact players taken after the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
“Booth was a first-round talent all day. The vaunted injury red flag precipitated his plummet to the second round. What I kept going back to with Booth during the pre-draft process was this — he has the feet and suddenness of a slot corner and the disruptive length and acrobatic ball skills of a tall outside corner. Learning from Patrick Peterson will do wonders for any rough edges of Booth’s game. He’s going to be a stud, quickly, in Minnesota.”
Booth is still working his way back from hernia surgery, and the expectation has always been that he’d start amping up his workouts heading into training camp later in the summer.
The truth remains that the Vikings were willing to trade back up in the draft to take him with the No. 42 overall pick. That isn’t a move general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah makes if the team didn’t have supreme confidence in his ability to help them win right out of the gates.
Opposing quarterbacks learned very quickly not to throw in Booth’s direction in college. A defensive back doesn’t need a bazillion interceptions and pass deflections to prove he can play the game at the next level. It’s even better when he strikes enough fear in the hearts of offenses to not even consider trying him, period.
Granted, quarterbacks are going to steadily test Booth in the NFL, and the hope is that he’ll be seasoned enough early in his career to make it tough on those teams. It helps playing opposite of a legend like Peterson, who could become key in Booth’s rapid development, if he comes into the situation with a sponge mentality.
That’s soaking up as much knowledge as possible and putting it to good use on Sundays.