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VIKINGS REPORT: Lewis Cine wants to ‘dominate rehab,’ be back on field in 2023

Dalvin Tomlinson won’t play Sunday at Washington due to calf injury

Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine lines up for a play during the second quarter of an Aug. 20, 2022, preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine lines up for a play during the second quarter of an Aug. 20, 2022, preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Lewis Cine, who suffered a serious leg injury last month, has set a goal to being back on the field next season.

Lewis Cine
Lewis Cine
Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings

Cine suffered a compound fracture in his lower left leg Oct. 2 against New Orleans in London and remained there to undergo surgery two days later. He returned to the Twin Cities on Oct. 8, and on Friday was walking around in the Vikings locker room at the TCO Performance Center.

“God willing, that is the goal not to miss any time coming back but it’s a day-to-day process with rehab, make sure I dominate in rehab, so I can come back,’’ Cine said of returning in 2023.

Cine, taken with the No. 30 pick in the first round last April out of Georgia, was in good spirits. He said he’s been getting plenty of support from teammates and coaches.

“I’m happy that I can walk,’’ he said. “It’s all positive advice from everyone, positivity, love outpouring of emotion and everything. … I feel good. Working on coming back healthy, strong.”

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Cine was hurt while covering a play on a punt. He was taken by ambulance to a London hospital, but said it did not take long for him to set his mind on wanting to come back healthy.

“I made peace with it kind of the same day,’’ Cine said. “I was like, ‘All right, what’s next?’ After surgery, I placed my mind on I have to dominate rehab and that’s the only focus and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Tomlinson won't play Sunday

The Vikings will be without one of their top defensive players on Sunday at Washington.

vikings-mugs-dalvin-tomlinson-2022.JPG
Dalvin Tomlinson
Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota on Friday ruled out defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson, who suffered a right calf injury in the third quarter of last Sunday’s 34-26 win over Arizona. He did not practice all week.

The Vikings listed as questionable cornerback Cameron Dantzler (neck) and wide receiver Jalen Nailor (illness).

Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Tomlinson is “doing a great job with his rehab” but the Vikings want to make sure that he’s at his “full capacity” when he returns.

It will be the first game in his six-year career Tomlinson misses due to injury. He sat out one game last season while on the COVID-19 reserve list but otherwise has played in all 87 possible regular-season games entering Sunday.

O’Connell said Khyiris Tonga will see increased playing time with Tomlinson out, but was not sure yet if he will start.

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“Tonga last week did some good things in the game, played strong,” O’Connell said. “His play strength showed up. … So he’ll be part of the rotation.”

Other players who could get increased snaps with Tomlinson out are Jonathan Bullard, who has started three games this season at the other defensive end spot, James Lynch and Ross Blacklock.

“Dalvin’s definitely a key player on our D-line, so it’s definitely going to to take all of us together to make things happen up front,” Tonga said.

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Tonga, signed Oct. 4 off Atlanta’s practice squad, made his Vikings debut against the Cardinals after being inactive for his first two games. He got in for 16 plays from scrimmage.

“I was just so happy to be out there,” he said. “It was fun to just go out there and make some plays.”

Also Friday, O’Connell said tight end Irv Smith Jr., who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after suffering a high ankle sprain against the Cardinals, “more than likely” won’t have surgery. O’Connell speculated Smith could be out for “that four- to almost eight-week time,” but said that timetable is unofficial. He must sit out at least four games due to being on injured reserve.

The Commanders listed as out for Sunday wide receiver Jahan Dotson (hamstring), linebackers Cole Holcomb (foot) and David Mayo (hamstring) and running back J.D. McKissic (neck) and as questionable defensive end Shaka Toney (calf).

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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