New Vikings Defender Has a Warning for the Other 31 NFL Teams
Following the 2023 NFL Draft, a number of prospects found new homes as undrafted free agents. For the Vikings specifically, we’re talking about 15 prospects that agreed to terms with Minnesota to compete for roster spots. Here’s the full list of UDFA signings for the Vikings:
- OL Alan Ali, TCU
- DT Calvin Avery, Illinois
- ILB Abraham Beauplan, Marshall
- OLB Andre Carter II, Army
- OL Jacky Chen, Pace
- CB C.J. Coldon, Oklahoma
- ILB Wilson Huber, Cincinnati
- WR Cephus Johnson, Southeastern Louisiana
- WR Malik Knowles, Kansas State
- ILB Ivan Pace, Jr., Cincinnati
- K Jack Podlesny, Georgia
- TE Ben Sims, Baylor
- WR Thayer Thomas, N.C. State
- CB NaJee Thompson, Georgia Southern
- CB Jaylin Williams, Indiana
Now, usually, these undrafted free agents are prospects that have a long road ahead of them in order to contribute to NFL rosters. However, a new Vikings defender doesn’t seem to be too fazed by that road. That defender is former Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Ivan Pace Jr.
After being signed by the Vikings, Pace put out a warning to all the other 31 NFL teams that passed up on him via his Intagram page with the caption, ‘Ya’ll Done F—ed Up’. Except he committed to spelling it all the way out rather than censoring it the way it is here. We try to stay family-friendly here at PurplePTSD, folks.
Pace may be warranted to be a bit peeved that he wasn’t selected via a conventional draft pick. The linebacker has been a tackle machine over his collegiate career, spending the 2019-2021 seasons at Miami (OH) before transferring to Cincinnati for the 2022 season.
At Cincinnati, he recorded 136 tackles (leading the AAC and ranking sixth in the NCAA) with 20.5 tackles for loss (third in the NCAA) and 9 sacks (second in the AAC). He also had 4 pass defenses and a pair of forced fumbles for the Bearcats.
It’s not hard to spot the NFL traits in Pace’s game, either. He is a spectacular athlete with the lower-body power to bull-rush blockers while also slipping through seams with incredible footwork. Lance Zierlein of NFL Network had the linebacker projected as a fifth-round pick, and honestly, he probably could have gone higher than that.
That didn’t happen, though, and now, Pace joins the Vikings on a mission to prove himself. He couldn’t have shown up at a better time either considering how thin Minnesota is at that off-ball linebacker spot ever since the release of long-time star Eric Kendricks.
Minnesota is hoping to get consistent production from Jordan Hicks and Troy Reeder while seeing a breakout year from Brian Asamoah, but other than that, the Vikings have very little depth at the position that will strike real fear in an opponent.
Perhaps this newest addition can change that. I’ll go ahead and make the prediction right now, ladies and gentlemen: Ivan Pace Jr. will make the final 53-man roster for the Vikings.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.