While it's still too soon to render final judgment on decisions the Vikings made in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, things are looking worse and sometimes really worse with each passing week.
This came to mind — again — while watching replays of the Ravens-Colts and Bengals-Rams games from last week.
To recap last year's first round, Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded down from No. 12 to 32 and selected safety Lewis Cine. Cine has no career starts, only two snaps on defense and is the Vikings' No. 5 safety behind Theo Jackson, a sixth-round pick of the Titans last year.
The Ravens, meanwhile, drafted safety Kyle Hamilton 14th. The Bengals drafted safety Daxton Hill 31st. Week 3 saw these two gentlemen post a combined 17 tackles, four for losses, a pass defense, and four sacks while playing 100% of 139 defensive snaps. Hamilton had three sacks and was blitzing his way to a fourth before batting down a pass.
The Vikings blitzed Justin Herbert on 43 of his 50 dropbacks, a whopping 86%, in Week 3. They registered one sack and eight pressures while a healthy Cine played only special teams.
Twenty players came off the board after the Vikings traded down in 2022. Those players now have 245 starts (12.3 per player), including 12 in the playoffs and two in the Super Bowl for the defending champion Chiefs.
Of those 20 players, 13 have started every game this season, and 17 have started at least one game. Jameson Williams, taken by Detroit with the 12th overall pick they got from the Vikings, was serving a gambling suspension. Houston guard Kenyon Green (15th overall) is on injured reserve. And Buffalo cornerback Kaiir Elam (23rd) lost his job to Christian Benford, a sixth-round pick of the Bills last year.
Week 2 also was another nose-punch reminder of what could have been when Philadelphia defensive tackle Jordan Davis — selected 13th overall last year — terrorized the Vikings' embattled interior offensive linemen in prime time.
Speaking of needing interior linemen, the Chargers drafted guard Zion Johnson 17th overall in 2022. He has started all 21 of his NFL games.
Need a cornerback and more takeaways from last year's draft? The Chiefs' Trent McDuffie (21st overall) has 14 starts, a Super Bowl ring, a league-leading two forced fumbles this year and Pro Football Focus' top coverage grade among NFL cornerbacks.
Need another edge rusher from that draft? The Chiefs' George Karlaftis (30th) has 21 starts, a Super Bowl ring, nine career sacks and a career-high eight pressures last Sunday.
How about another young linebacker and some more points? Green Bay's Quay Walker (22nd) has 20 starts and a pick six this year. Jacksonville's Devin Lloyd (27th) also has 20 starts.
Meanwhile, Cine will miss Sunday's game against the Panthers because of a hamstring injury.
Cine's career isn't over. He turns only 24 on Thursday and showed tremendous dedication and strength of character to bounce back from a gruesome leg injury early last season. But red flags were waving before that injury occurred when Cine didn't come close to winning a starting job.
Adofo-Mensah has known since draft night '22 that this trade would become memorable one way or the other. First, he traded with a division opponent. Second, he was questioned for coming up on the short end of the deal after giving up the 12th and 46th picks for the 32nd, 34th and 66th picks.
Hindsight has been unkind. The past two weeks alone have served reminders that perhaps critics were right to suggest Adofo-Mensah would have found much better value by simply sitting tight with the 12th pick and selecting either the guy who was picked 13th (Davis) or the guy who was picked 14th (Hamilton), among others.