Minnesota Vikings training camp preview: Will S Lewis Cine and CB Andrew Booth Jr. earn starting jobs?

The Vikings didn't draft Lewis Cine in the first round to be a backup, but how soon will the safety be a productive starter? Training camp may help provide an answer. Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, MINN. -- The Minnesota Vikings open 2022 NFL training camp Tuesday at the TCO Performance Center. Here's a closer look at a few storylines:

The most compelling position battle: Safety. We know veteran Harrison Smith will man one of the two starting spots, but the second will be determined through a relatively high-profile competition between first-round draft pick Lewis Cine and second-year player Camryn Bynum. The Vikings didn't draft Cine to be a backup, and top picks often have the edge in position battles. Entering the draft, the Vikings were especially impressed with Cine's ability to diagnose route concepts at the snap, in addition to his hitting ability and speed. But Bynum acquitted himself well last season during a three-game stint as a starter. He won't go down without a fight and could prompt the team to consider using some three-safety packages.

Player with the most to prove: Center Garrett Bradbury. The 2019 first-round draft pick has been a starter for the past three seasons, but his performance in 2021 prompted genuine concern that he is not a long-term answer at the position. Among other data points, he ranked No. 31 of 32 eligible centers in ESPN's pass block win rate metric (90.9%). The Vikings declined the fifth-year option on his contract, but their new regime decided to give him another (and likely final) chance to establish himself. There are no obvious replacements on the roster, but that could change, if necessary, later this summer.

Biggest question: Is new coach Kevin O'Connell the missing ingredient? The Vikings took a relatively unusual approach after firing long-time general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer. New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah left the roster largely intact, and his biggest move was to sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a contract extension that means he likely will remain the starter through the 2023 season. By default, that leaves O'Connell as the change agent. It will be up to him and his staff to shepherd a similar group of players to the postseason after they fell short in three of the past four seasons. We'll start finding out this summer.

Fiercest fantasy-relevant battle: Tight end Irv Smith Jr.'s targets. There is no question that Smith will be the Vikings' starting tight end, a year after suffering a season-ending right knee injury. And we know how much Cousins likes targeting tight ends. (Since he became a full-time starter in 2015, he ranks No. 4 among quarterbacks in tight end targets.) But Cousins has a lot of mouths to feed, from receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen to tailback Dalvin Cook. Training camp will give us our first glimpse at understanding how O'Connell and Cousins will disperse the ball, all while working in playmaker Kene Nwangwu.

Camp prediction: Rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. will emerge as a starter. The Vikings have been raving about Booth ever since trading up to draft him in the second round, and he joins a position group that is ripe for newcomers. Strictly from a skill and playmaking perspective, Booth was among the best cornerbacks in the draft. His injury history pushed him into the second round, but he believes that surgery to repair a hernia in March has put him on the road to permanent recovery. If that's the case, and he goes through training camp healthy, he'll prove good enough to start opposite Patrick Peterson -- or at the very least in the nickel package that the Vikings will frequently use.