Vikings rumors: Rookie linebacker fighting for significant playing time
This offseason, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah began to further retool the Minnesota Vikings roster in his image. To free up cap space, the Vikings moved on from various mainstays, one of them being inside linebacker Eric Kendricks. With that, middle linebacker was an area of focus heading into training camp.
One name that has stood out among Vikings fans and the team itself was undrafted rookie linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. Pace spent this past season playing college football at Cincinnati, where he logged 137 combined tackles (60 solo, 65 assisted), 21.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four passes defended, and three forced fumbles. Now, he is with the Vikings, looking to make it onto the 53-man roster.
In his first preseason game, Pace stood out. He led the team with six tackles, showing his ability to find and get to the ball carrier quickly while being able to get past opposing offensive linemen.
Days later, head coach Kevin O’Connell was asked about Pace’s performance this preseason. O’Connell said that Pace is not trying to make the team, but trying to earn some significant playing time.
In training camp, players on the roster bubble are trying to make a good impression on their coaches. So far, Pace has made a hell of an impression on O’Connell, who believes has a legitimate shot to receive some playing time this upcoming season. Pace has the opportunity to further solidify his case this Saturday when the Vikings play the Titans.