Vikings rookie one of the few silver linings in frustrating Week 9 loss

Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings

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It was another disheartening loss for the Minnesota Vikings this past weekend, falling 34-31 in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens. 

Many components went into the loss, but overall, it ended up being another frustrating performance for the Vikings. Questionable play calling, fearful quarterback play and a gassed defense all played a factor in the outcome of Sunday’s game. 

As negative as it felt, there was still a big positive that came out of the lackluster performance. 

Rookie safety Camryn Bynum woke up Sunday morning to a phone call letting him know Harrison Smith had tested positive for COVID-19 and that he’d be taking his place. 

On a Sunday in which the Vikings defense was missing Smith, Patrick Peterson, Michael Pierce, Danielle Hunter and Bashaud Breeland for a good chunk of time, someone needed to step up. 

Bynum did exactly that, finishing the day with 12 total tackles, a 90.0 PFF grade and most importantly an impressive interception towards the end of the first half.

The offense continued to underwhelm to end the half, only putting three points on the board after the electrifying play by the rookie. 

Here’s what I said in my draft grade article back in May when the Vikings drafted the former Cal cornerback:

In terms of celebrations after getting drafted, former Cal cornerback Camryn Bynum gets an A+ grade. 

The Vikings turned Bynum’s draft card in as a safety, so he’ll get to learn behind one of the league’s best in Harrison Smith. 

As another Senior Bowl standout, it seems like the Vikings really did their homework down in Mobile this offseason. Bynum has a nose for the football and is a more than willing tackler in the run game. He’ll fit into the Mike Zimmer defense quite well and won’t be forced onto the field early in his career. 

Overall grade: B 

These traits showed on Sunday in the impressive starting debut for Bynum. He always seemed to be around the ball carrier and even showed off his hands and athleticism with his interception.

It’s not always easy to find positives on a team that’s struggled immensely over their last handful of games, but the emergence of Bynum could be huge for this team in the near future. The Vikings locked up Smith already with a four-year extension earlier this season, but Xavier Woods was only signed on a one-year deal. If Bynum continues to flash in Zimmer’s defense maybe he’ll be the next man up if Woods decides to go elsewhere in 2022.

With Smith testing positive for COVID-19, Bynum will likely get another crack in the starting lineup this Sunday in Los Angeles. His play should be easy to follow, as the Vikings square up against a high-powered Chargers offense led by Justin Herbert.

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