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USA Today Sports Media Group

Luke Kuechly believes Vikings will have NFL’s best secondary in 2022

Minnesota Vikings fans are crossing their fingers and hoping the defensive secondary is merely good after watching them get carved like salami last season.

And then there are those like future Hall of Fame linebacker Luke Kuechly, who believes the team has done enough to have the NFL’s best secondary in 2022.

“I’m going to go with the Vikings,” Kuechly said, when asked who has the NFL’s best secondary during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “Harrison Smith, Patrick Peterson, two young rookies—Lewis Cine out of Georgia, and they drafted [Andrew] Booth out of Clemson.

“I think when you talk about young guys coming into the league, I think the one important thing is where do they learn from and who do they learn from. You learn from two guys that have played at All-Pro levels for such a long time.”

Even at 33 years old, Smith is coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Vikings. He’s a highly-intelligent player in the defensive backfield, who has yet to grow out of the willingness to lower his helmet and lay the boom on ball-carriers.

So he’s clearly still capable of playing at an elite level.

And while there has been some noticeable slippage in Peterson’s game, he’s still a solid starting cornerback in the league with a treasure trove of experience and knowledge in his brain. When it comes to mentors, it doesn’t get any better than a guy that is likely Canton-bound at the end of his football career.

No one can argue the fact that the Vikings secondary will look completely different in 2022. Cine is a violent playmaker on the backend that should fit like a glove next to Smith, while Booth has the footwork and ball-tracking abilities to hit the ground running at the next level across from Peterson.

“I’m excited to see young with some old. Patrick Peterson, great ball production, and Harrison Smith, kind of a two-way player—can play in the run game and also has great ball production in his career with interceptions and forced fumbles,” said Kuechly.

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