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Vikings sign five draftees, including Gophers’ Esezi Otomewo, make Lewis Cine deal official

Otomewo, selected with the No. 165 overall pick, got a four-year, $3.97 million contract with a signing bonus of $309,048 and will count $782,262 on the 2022 cap

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Minnesota
Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive linemen Esezi Otomewo celebrates a stop against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on fourth down during the fourth quarter Oct. 16, 2021, at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
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University of Minnesota edge rusher Esezi Otomewo said he was “ecstatic” when selected last month by the Vikings in the fifth round of the NFL draft. And now he’ s under contract.

Otomewo, selected with the No. 165 overall pick, signed his deal Thursday. He got a four-year, $3.97 million contract with a signing bonus of $309,048 and will count $782,262 on the 2022 cap.

The Vikings, who had 10 draft selections, announced that four others have signed deals on the eve of Friday’s first day of a two-day rookie minicamp. That includes safety Lewis Cine, who was taken out of Georgia with the No. 32 in the first round and had agreed to terms Wednesday.

Also signing were running back Ty Chandler, taken out of North Carolina with the No. 169 pick in the fifth round, wide receiver Jalen Nailor, who went No. 199 in the sixth round out of Michigan State, and tight end Nick Muse, selected No. 227 in the seventh round from South Carolina. Muse had agreed Wednesday to terms.

Chandler got a four-year, $3.96 million contract with a signing bonus of $298,840 and will count $779.710 on the 2022 cap. Nailor received a four-year, $3.84 million deal with a signing bonus of $180,659 and will count $750,165 on the 2022 cap.

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Also Thursday, a source said tackle Vederian Lowe, selected No. 184 by the Vikings in the sixth round out of Illinois, agreed to terms. He is in line for a four-year, $3.86 million contract with a signing bonus of $197,873 and will count $754,468 on the 2022 cap.

Remaining unsigned are cornerback Andrew Booth, a second-round pick from Clemson, guard Ed Ingram, a second-round pick from LSU, linebacker Brian Asamoah, a third-round selection out of Oklahoma, and cornerback Akayleb Evans, a fourth-round pick from Missouri.

Sources said that contract negotiations with Ingram and Asamoah are not close and that both players are expected to take part in the minicamp under an injury protection agreement. All of Minnesota’s draft picks are expected at the minicamp.

Otomewo became the first Gophers player drafted by the Vikings since linebacker Nate Triplett went in the fifth round in 2010. Otomewo said when he was selected on April 30 he was moved to tears.

Numbers game

When Cine was introduced to the media in Minnesota on April 29, the day after his selection, he was given jersey No. 6 and said No. 16, which he wore at Georgia, was unavailable. But the Vikings announced on Tuesday that Cine would wear No. 16 after all.

However, according to Cine’s agency, Roc Nation Sports, he has decided to stick with No. 6 for 2022. As of Thursday night, Cine was still listed on the roster at No. 16 and punter Jordan Berry was listed at No. 6. Berry wore No. 3 last season but gave up that number when cornerback Cameron Dantzler switched from No. 27 to No. 3.

Cine was asked when he was introduced in Minnesota about No. 6.

“I wanted to pick 16, but the option wasn’t there, so the closest thing to 16 was the six without the one,” he said. “So, yeah. And, plus, single digits sell a whole lot, so why not?”

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Appearing this week on the podcast of longtime star cornerback Richard Sherman, Cine reiterated those thoughts on a single-digit number.

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