5 defensive prospects for Vikings to watch at the 2023 Senior Bowl

(Phot by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Kyu Blu Kelly
(Phot by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Kyu Blu Kelly /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Ivan Pace Jr. /

Ivan Pace Jr. – LB (Cincinnati)

The Vikings are in for changes on defense and one position that could have a couple of young new starters is inside linebacker. Brian Asamoah will be locked in at one of those spots and if Minnesota wants to match his intensity and passion with a draft pick, then Ivan Pace Jr. could be their man.

Pace Jr. is an absolute ball of energy. He shows great speed in both pursuit and when he is screaming through the line on a blitz. His motor is constantly going, and it seems he always has a foot on the gas.

Pace Jr. was very productive in his college career where he started with Miami of Ohio before transferring to Cincinnati his senior season. He racked up 306 career tackles with 41.5 for a loss and an eye-popping 20 sacks. The guy is a playmaker and would give the Vikings a huge boost of speed to the middle of their defense.

While Pace is a very exciting prospect he is limited physically. While his frame is compact he isn’t very tall and there is concern about how he’ll fare against bigger NFL offensive linemen. That’ll be the thing Minnesota will have to monitor this week.