Andrew Booth Jr.'s rookie season is officially over.
On Monday, it was reported that Booth was undergoing knee surgery that, depending on the type of procedure he had, could end his season. On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Booth's season is over, indicating he received the more significant meniscus surgery — a full repair, not a trim.
Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. had his meniscus repaired in 2021, missing the entire season. Going with the repair is about taking a long-term view of things and making sure Booth comes back in 2023 better than ever, if he recovers as expected and can avoid other injuries.
Booth, selected out of Clemson in the second round of this year's draft, dealt with various injuries throughout his rookie season. Concerns about his injury history during college were a big reason why he fell out of the top 40 selections in the draft. This isn't the start to his NFL career he or the Vikings were hoping for, but Booth will look to make a full recovery and earn a role on the field in 2023.
Booth appeared in six games this year, playing 105 defensive snaps against the Bills and Cowboys. Along with first-round safety Lewis Cine, the Vikings' top two draft picks have both suffered season-ending injuries this year.
The good news for the Vikings is that they expect to get two cornerbacks back from injury shortly. Fellow rookie Akayleb Evans, the biggest bright spot from Minnesota's 2022 draft class, could be back this week after missing the last two games in the concussion protocol. If he's cleared, he will likely make his second career start against the Jets on Sunday. Booth started against the Cowboys and Duke Shelley got the start against the Patriots last Thursday.
Cameron Dantzler, the starter to open the year and for the first eight games of the season, expects to return in Week 14 against the Lions, when he's first eligible to come off injured reserve. He has missed the last three games with an ankle injury suffered in Washington and has to miss one more because an IR stint requires a minimum of four missed games.
Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell indicated Dantzler could be activated next week, and Dantzler is confident he'll be ready to go in Detroit.
“Absolutely," he told Chris Tomasson. "The training staff has done a wonderful job maintaining everything and I’m right on target to return for Detroit."
Getting Evans and Dantzler back for the stretch run will be big for the Vikings' cornerback depth — and their defense as a whole.
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