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Andrew Booth, Jr. on 'Out-of-Body' Experience & Reaching Full Health

EAGAN, Minn. — The phone call from the Vikings Friday night put former Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr., "super out-of-body" as he celebrated with family.

It even prompted tears of joy from his father.

"It was crazy. My dad, like, he doesn't cry," Booth said shortly after Minnesota picked him with the 42nd overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. "He doesn't cry at all. But he cried today, bro. And that's part of the reason why I'm out-of-body, because it's just like, I've never seen that from him."

The native of Dacula, Georgia, was able to hear the news at a large family gathering. He looked forward to wrapping his media session because he considered his selection as "not about me."

"It's about the people who got me to this point," Booth said. "So just having them all here is super great, super cool, and I'm super excited. Like I said, I'm just ready to put the pads on. All this, all the talk is done. Talking season is over with. May 14, I believe he said, that's when we'll report or whatever, and I'll be ready to go."

Booth, other Vikings draft picks and rookies will be scheduled to report for a minicamp at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center during the second weekend in May.

Booth underwent a hernia surgery in April 2021 and another procedure in March 2022, which prevented him from participating on the field at the NFL Scouting Combine or Clemson's Pro Day.

The Vikings and other teams conducted medical exams of Booth.

"That's why we have our medical meetings and why we do our intensive medical, [combine] re-checks and then all the medical meetings we had, we felt comfortable," Senior Football Advisor Ryan Grigson said.

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Minnesota evaluated "extensive data" on Booth's health. Adofo-Mensah spoke with Booth's agent after liking what he had seen on film.

"I watched him and loved the style of play he has," Adofo-Mensah said. "RG (Grigson) always says this term, 'It matters.' It looks like it matters to him out there. We're watching him play, but he didn't show up at the combine. So you're doing your research, and I call the agent. His agent put me in touch with his trainer.

"So I'm talking to the trainer [asking], 'Hey, what was he running? How's he doing?' And he goes, 'Hey, Kwes, this guy has never been healthy. He's had this hernia thing his whole [college] career and he's getting it fixed.' So you think about that, and I thought he was a pretty good player as it is," Adofo-Mensah continued. "So the chance to be even better was too good of a possibility to pass up. Ultimately, that's why we came up in the draft."

Booth said he is ready to show what he can do when healthy, describing the capability of being "truly lockdown."

"When you're injured out there, like, I'm making no excuses. Zero excuses. But when you're out there you try to trust your skills and your athleticism a lot. And so when you're injured, you can't really do that physically out there," Booth said. "But like I said in a couple more weeks, at minicamp, I'll be ready to go. And I feel great; my identity, like I said, lockdown. Just ferocious, very physical."

Booth is listed at 6-feet tall and 194 pounds with arms that were measured at 31 ½ inches according to his bio, providing length and physicality to the position.

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney complimented Booth's game in the following statement:

"They are getting, first of all, a great person with a great spirit to him," Swinney said. "[He is] a guy that loves to play. From a football standpoint, they're getting a rare corner: long, explosive, fast, a physical tackler at the corner position, which is really not always the case, with great ball skills. Very instinctive guy, and I think a guy that helps the team right away."

Grigson explained traits Booth has beyond his length that should help him with the Vikings.

"He's got good hips, he can turn the ball over, he's got really good ball skills," Grigson said. "But me personally, I feel like [from scouting] him this fall, the one thing that stuck out about Andrew Booth besides his athleticism and the way he competes, is how much he cares.

"He's a football junkie, that's all I'd tell you there. He's really devoted to the game, he loves the game. And his passion shows on the field," Grigson added. "I feel like he really cares. And that really comes through when you watch his play. And when the ball's in the air, he's going to attack.

"Another really encouraging thing is if he does make a mistake, you can kind of pick up points in the film where he makes up for it. … That's one thing that really shows through with him, that's the kind of guy you want at that position, that will just compete rep after rep. No matter how you're utilizing him, whether it's in press or if he's off or wherever [Defensive Coordinator] Ed [Donatell] chooses to put him. I think he's going to come through for us."