Safety Lewis Cine said there have been no limitations while practicing with the Vikings less than eight months after two compound fractures in his left leg ended his rookie season.
"It's not like things are being toned down," Cine said this week after the team's second spring practice. "I've just been going like everyone else, and I feel great."
"Everything is right where it needs to be," he added.
Cine, the 2022 first-round pick out of Georgia, underwent surgery in London to repair a broken tibia and fibula suffered Oct. 2 against the Saints — his third NFL game after missing the opener due to a knee injury.
His second Vikings season already looks different. During the first spring practice open to reporters this week, defenders floated between different positions during the early installation periods of coordinator Brian Flores' playbook. Cine aligned deep, in the middle of the field like a linebacker, and onto the line of scrimmage depending on the call.
Coaches agree Cine has appeared without limitations.
"It's mind-blowing, quite frankly," special teams coordinator Matt Daniels said. "He's looking more explosive than he did last year. He's really being a lot more intentional about getting post-practice work."
Cine was the Bulldogs' leading tackler and pass deflector during the 2021 national-championship season. He said progress continued despite not playing.
"I think I'm better," Cine said. "I strengthened a lot of areas where I had fault during the whole time of rehabbing, and really focused on my mental [health]. But I think as a player and person, I'm better for it."
A defensive 'chess piece'
New inside linebackers coach Mike Siravo — hired onto Flores' staff this offseason after former coach Greg Manusky was let go — had high praise for linebacker Brian Asamoah's potential in this defense. Asamoah, the 2022 third-round pick out of Oklahoma, is expected to replace linebacker Eric Kendricks. He popped up as a difference maker late last year, including a forced fumble in the Dec. 24 win over the Giants.
"What a gifted athlete and brings unreal energy," Siravo said. "Just keep getting reps in the new scheme. He's one of those chess pieces that you're going to see him all over the field. He can rush, he can drop, he's athletic enough to play man [coverage]."
Hit the ground running?
Receiver Jordan Addison, the first-round pick, didn't practice Tuesday during the session open to reporters. While Addison's on-field participation is delayed due to an undisclosed reason, receivers coach Keenan McCardell lauded the 21-year-old's mental acuity when asked what he liked about Addison.
"He's a quiet, confident guy," McCardell said. "He understands how to play the position, and it bodes well for us because we let Adam [Thielen] go and he was probably one of the most unbelievable [receivers] to understand the position. It means his acceleration ... will happen a lot faster."
Protecting the brain
Left tackle Christian Darrisaw suffered concussions in back-to-back games last season, leading to a three-game absence and a helmet change this offseason. Darrisaw said he previously wore a Riddell SpeedFlex helmet and changed to the top-rated protection, which according to the NFL and NFLPA is the Vicis Zero2 Trench helmet specified for linemen.
"They all say this is the best helmet to wear," Darrisaw said, "so I'm going to go with the scientific study."