4 Vikings UDFAs who could steal a roster spot at training camp in 2024

Minnesota Vikings CB Dwight McGlothern
Minnesota Vikings CB Dwight McGlothern / Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, athletes selected in the first round of the NFL Draft get the most publicity and the fattest contracts. However, the best success stories are arguably those players who were not drafted at all. In 2023, current Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. was overlooked through all seven rounds of the draft. 

Minnesota signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, and he not only made the team but started 11 games. In his rookie year, Pace had 102 total tackles, nine quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two passes broken up, and one interception. Those stats earned the linebacker a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team.  

When the 2024 NFL Draft ended on Saturday, the Vikings signed 17 undrafted free agents. A few of the guys they signed have the potential to be the next Pace and make the club’s final 53-man roster for the 2024 season.

4 Minnesota Vikings UDFAs who could steal a roster spot in 2024

Dwight McGlothern - CB (Arkansas)

McGlothern began his college career at LSU where he played in 13 games and tallied 41 combined tackles and a pick-six. In 2022, McGlothern transferred to Arkansas where he suited up for 22 games in two seasons. That year, he had career-highs in total tackles (52), passes broken up (10), and interceptions (4) and was named second-team All-SEC.

Last season, McGlothern was nagged by turf toe and a concussion, limiting him to nine games. Still, he pulled down three picks, defended six passes, and had 20 tackles. Pro Football Focus (PFF) also gave McGlothern a 92.0 grade or higher in no less than three categories.

NFL scouts gave the corner a 5.97 grade before the draft, meaning they believe he could turn out to be an average backup or special teamer. Special teams is exactly where McGlothern might find himself as a rookie. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder just might push for playing time by the end of the 2024 season.

Gabriel Murphy - EDGE (UCLA)

Minnesota lost edge rusher Danielle Hunter in free agency. However, they selected Alabama’s Dallas Turner in the first round of this year's draft to help replace him. There’s a chance Murphy could display his bona fides in the art of rushing the passer as well.

Murphy has five years of college playing experience. He began at North Texas and played three years for the Mean Green. During that time, he had 73 tackles and 12 total sacks. In 2022, Murphy transferred to UCLA. Two seasons with the Bruins brought Murphy 76 tackles and 9.5 sacks, including eight sacks in 2023 alone.  

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end will need to gain weight at the next level, but he is one to keep an eye on. Pro scouts gave Murphy a 6.21 grade before the draft as an athlete who could be an average starter. Should he make the team, Murphy’s above-average pass rush could turn heads.

Ty James - WR (Mercer)

James was a Georgia Bulldog before transferring to Mercer in 2020. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound James was an immediate force of nature for the Bears.

He ended the 2020 season with a team-high 30 catches and also led the Bears in 2021 with 26 receptions. In 2022, James made national headlines when he grabbed 13 passes for an astounding 351 yards and two scores against Samford. That set Mercer and SoCon single-game receiving yards records.

In addition to being named All-Conference in 2022 and 2023, James was also added to the FCS All-American list last year. During his last two seasons at Mercer, James had totals of 115 catches, 2,235 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Doug Nester - G/T (West Virginia)

The Vikings offensive line improved in 2023, and the team added more pieces to the unit in the draft. Tackle Walter Rouse of Oklahoma was taken by the franchise in the sixth round and lineman Michael Jurgens of Wake Forest was added in the seventh round. Nester just might join them on the field this year.

After his senior year of high school, Nester was the recipient of the Stydahar Award for the top offensive lineman in West Virginia. He then began his career at Virginia Tech before transferring to play for the Mountaineers.

In three seasons at WVU, Nester started 35 games and played in 55 total contests. His senior year in 2023 was something special. The 6-foot-7, 319-pound Nester played over 600 snaps and did not allow a sack. Nester’s play has brought him recognition as an All-Conference member, and he was twice decorated as an Academic All-Conference selection.

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