5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks – Preseason Week 1

Minnesota Vikings helmet
Minnesota Vikings helmet / Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
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Prediction No. 2

Ivan Pace Jr. will be Minnesota's standout defensive player

There were a lot of people who were happy when the Vikings landed Ivan Pace Jr. as an undrafted free agent last spring, and he’s shown why over the first two weeks of training camp.

Pace is undersized as a 5-foot-11, 230-pound linebacker, but he operates like a heat-seeking missile in Brian Flores’s defense. After ranking first among qualifying linebackers in PFF’s pass rush and overall grades and fourth in PFF’s run defense grades, Pace has the look of a sub-package player that can add another element to the Vikings’ defense.

“There’s always that small DB who can play,” Flores recently told reporters when he was asked about Pace’s size. “Or that small linebacker, small defensive tackle, etc. These guys who have those instincts, who have (the) ability to overcome height, weight, whatever it is.”

Pace showed that ability by lighting up much bigger offensive linemen during the pre-draft process and continued to shine as he hit the field in training camp. While Jordan Hicks and Brian Asamoah are locked in as the starters at linebacker, Pace could join Troy Dye and Troy Reeder as players that contribute both in sub packages and on special teams with a big performance on Thursday night.