Vikings 2023 Draft: Seven-round post-2022 regular season mock draft

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Eric Gray
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Eric Gray /
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Minnesota Vikings
Ivan Pace (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Fourth-Round Pick

Ivan Pace – LB (Cincinnati)

Brian Asamoah has been pretty solid in his rookie season as a situational linebacker. He has probably earned a job heading into camp this summer with Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks fighting for one last chance to make an impact on this team. Even if one or both of the veterans stick around, the Vikings will need to add depth to the middle of the field.

Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace is going to be one of the most interesting prospects in 2023. After spending three seasons at Miami (OH), Pace transferred to Cincinnati and had his best season of college ball.

Pace is a smaller linebacker which forces him to play sort of a hybrid role as a blitzing off-ball backer that can defend the run and pass but thrives as a gap-splitter. In 2022, Pace recorded 136 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Listed at 6-foot-0 and 235 pounds, Pace looks much smaller than most teams would like from a pass rusher. Still, he has done more than enough to warrant a late draft selection and a chance to make the lineup in some capacity as a rookie.

Minnesota is in a transitional phase on defense without a true chess piece in the middle of the defense right now. Adding Ivan Pace and his ability to fill gaps against the run or pass would give them a strong mismatch on early downs.