Vikings safety Lewis Cine a healthy scratch for second straight game

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For the second straight game, the Vikings made safety Lewis Cine a healthy scratch.

Not a good sign for the 2022 first-round pick as he struggles to find a role on defense.

This became a storyline last week after the Vikings decided to make Cine inactive for the road game against the Chicago Bears. Asked for clarification on the decision, head coach Kevin O’Connell chalked it up to the fact that Cine has been slowly recovering from a hamstring injury.

“We feel good about him being at full capacity here and hope to get him going a little bit,” O’Connell said. “My anticipation is he’ll be up and ready to roll this week.”

Instead, the 24-year-old Cine was a full participant in practice, only for the Vikings to make him in active for the home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

It’s fair to wonder if this is the beginning of the end.

This was supposed to be a breakout campaign for Cine after recovering from a compound fracture in his left leg that forced him to miss most of last season. He entered training camp at full strength and figured to be an impactful player for new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

That hasn’t been the case with Cine buried on the depth chart behind fellow safeties Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum, and Josh Metellus, among others. To this point, Cine has not played a single snap on defense this season, with his only playing time coming via 38 snaps on special teams.

Nonetheless, the Vikings continue to speak highly of Cine whenever his name comes up in conversation.

“We have a 100 percent confidence in him,” O’Connell said. “I think we’ll see his role continue to evolve and grow throughout the season.”

The other inactives for the Vikings included left guard Ezra Cleveland, cornerback NaJee Thompson, tight end Nick Muse, pass rusher Andre Carter II, and offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji.

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