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Vikings draft Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. after more trades

Booth, who entered the draft after his junior season, had 37 tackles and three interceptions last season.
Credit: AP
FILE - Clemson's Andrew Booth Jr. (23) defends against North Carolina State's Emeka Emezie (86) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Sept. 25, 2021. Booth is a potential pick for the Cincinnati Bengals in next week’s NFL draft as the team seeks depth at the cornerback position. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker, File)

EAGAN, Minn. — After even more trades, the busy Minnesota Vikings took Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. with the 42nd overall pick in the NFL draft Friday night.

The 6-foot, 194-pound Booth addresses one of the team’s biggest needs. With the 59th overall pick in the second round, Minnesota then drafted LSU guard Ed Ingram and followed with Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah in the third round.

Ingram is 6-foot-3 and 307 pounds and started as a true freshman at LSU. But he missed the 2018 season after being arrested on a sexual assault charge. The charges were eventually dropped and he started much of the past three seasons.

Asamoah is undersized (6-foot, 226 pounds) but had 80 tackles and two forced fumbles in 12 games last year for Oklahoma.

Booth, who entered the draft after his junior season, might have fallen due to medical concerns. He had 37 tackles and three interceptions in 11 games last season, but said he played through injury.

Saying he hasn’t been healthy since high school, Booth noted he had hernia surgery last April that didn’t solve the issue. He again had hernia surgery in March but said he expects to be ready for offseason activities.

“I didn’t do the combine or the pro day, so I kind of made it hard for everybody to love me,” Booth said. “I know everybody really, really liked me, but I was hard to love, though. It was tough, like, because I know I’m more healthy than the guy that was on tape that going into these meetings everybody is putting up. Ten times better than the cat on tape.”

Minnesota re-signed veteran Patrick Peterson and signed Chandon Sullivan in free agency but didn’t have much experience behind them at cornerback. It’s the second addition to the secondary after adding Georgia safety Lewis Cine at the end of the first round.

“He’s kind of the guy that, of course we wanted to get him, because he brings a lot to the table; his competitiveness, his size, he plays at a high level, played for a really good program like our last pick,” said Ryan Grigson, a senior football advisor with the Vikings. “So, he can hit the ground running in a lot of ways as a pro.”

Upgrading the secondary might be a necessity after trades with two NFC North rivals.

Minnesota started the second day of the draft with the second pick in the second round, No. 34, but sent the pick to Green Bay for the No. 53 and 59 selections. Minnesota then traded Nos. 53, 77 and 192 to Indianapolis for No. 122 to move up and draft Booth.

The Vikings a day earlier had traded back from No. 12 to 32 in the first round, sending the 12th pick to Detroit, who selected receiver Jameson Williams. After Friday’s trade with Green Bay, the Packers added North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson, giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a speedy, 6-foot-4 target.

Cine may see those receivers soon enough, but he arrived at Vikings headquarters earlier Friday to visit with team officials and tour the facility. The versatile safety from Georgia spoke glowingly about the satisfying opportunities his position provides to deliver punishing hits to the opposition.

“I can be all-out physical and just do me on the football field and be OK about it. When you think about it, football is a violent game. A lot of things you do in football, you can’t do in the outside world. You’ll get arrested,” Cine said.

He wanted to make clear, though, that he’s not a reckless or dirty player.

“I want to play the game safe, let me say that for sure, because now at this level the last thing I want to happen is be fined. The NFL fines people a pretty penny,” Cine said. “So, I want to be in the game, one. I want to not get fined, two, and I want to be dependable to my team, three.”

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