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Vikings Rookie CB Andrew Booth Jr. To Have Knee Surgery, Could Miss Rest of Season

Inside The Vikings on FanNation logo Inside The Vikings on FanNation 11/28/2022 Will Ragatz
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Booth has had an injury-riddled rookie season and this may be the final blow to end it.

Vikings rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. is having knee surgery on Monday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapaport, and there's a chance he'll miss the remainder of the 2022 season.

"The decision (will) be made during surgery on which procedure is necessary," Rapaport tweeted. "There is a chance Booth will miss the rest of the season, but that won’t be evident until post-surgery."

This is a tough blow for the Vikings' second-round pick out of Clemson, who has had an injury-marred rookie year. He missed some time early in OTAs, then injured his quad on his second career special teams snap in the regular season opener against the Packers. Booth returned in Week 6, saw his first defensive snaps when Akayleb Evans got hurt in the Bills game, and made his first career start the following week against the Cowboys.

But after the Dallas game, Kevin O'Connell said Booth had some knee soreness. He didn't practice at all in the build-up to Thursday's game against the Patriots. And now he needs knee surgery that might end his rookie campaign. There are six weeks left in the regular season.

The Vikings traded up to select Booth 42nd overall in this year's draft, and this was part of the risk they took when doing so. Booth, who turned 22 in September, dealt with injuries throughout his entire college career. He proved himself to be a first-round talent when healthy, but the injury concerns caused him to drop out of the top 40 picks.

Shortly after the draft, I wrote that Booth could be a major steal. The issue is that he can't do that unless he stays healthy.

Here's what's equally exciting and concerning about Booth: he says he hasn't played fully healthy football since he was in high school. He has a lengthy injury history and played through various ailments during his entire collegiate career. That makes it even more impressive that Booth was able to record 5 interceptions, 14 total passes defended, and 5.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons — while being penalized just once.

There's an inherent level of risk that comes with taking someone with the kind of injury history Booth has. He was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease — a temporary inflammation below the knee — when he was a kid. Booth dealt with some knee tendinitis in high school, then had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon after his freshman year at Clemson. Most notably, he played through a hernia issue in college; Booth had surgery to get it fixed in April 2021, but that didn't fully solve the issue so he had another surgery on the same spot in March of this year. He also missed a game last season because of a hamstring strain and another because of a stinger, and he skipped the combine after suffering a quad strain during a workout.

If this surgery does mean the end of Booth's season, that'll be each of the Vikings' top two picks out for the year. Safety Lewis Cine, the 32nd overall pick, suffered a compound leg fracture while playing on special teams in the win over the Saints in London.

Injuries are unfortunate, but it's been a rough year for GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's first draft class. Cine is hurt. Booth is hurt and struggled mightily when he was on the field against the Bills and Cowboys, allowing 13 catches on 15 targets (per PFF) with two missed tackles and two penalties. RG Ed Ingram, the lone full-time starter in the class, leads the NFL in pressures allowed by a wide margin. LB Brian Asamoah has played 30 defensive snaps. All four of those players were selected in the top 66 picks.

Akayleb Evans, a fourth-round pick at cornerback, has showed some legitimate promise, but he missed the last two games while in the concussion protocol. None of the other Day 3 picks have earned meaningful roles.

With Booth out for at least the next few weeks and possibly more, the Vikings will be hoping to get Evans and Cameron Dantzler back soon. Evans could return and start against the Jets if he clears the protocol. Dantzler has to miss one more game on injured reserve with an ankle issue, but he'll be eligible to return the following week. Duke Shelley, signed from the practice squad a couple weeks ago, got the start against the Patriots.

We should learn more about Booth's recovery timeline in the coming days. Whether it's later this season or in 2023, he'll try to put these injuries issues behind him and earn a big role on the Vikings' defense.

Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.

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