5 biggest winners from the Vikings 2023 preseason opener

Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler / Jane Gershovich/GettyImages
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Winner No. 3

Ivan Pace Jr. - ILB

Ivan Pace Jr. is an early favorite to become this year’s “Mr. Mankato” as the top standout in training camp, but he could be on his way to a starting role after Thursday’s performance in Seattle.

Pace is an undersized but effective missile in Brian Flores’s defense, which was apparent from the opening snap against the Seahawks.

After winning a collision with an offensive lineman early in the game, Pace was also seen wearing the green dot, which means he was wearing the headset to receive communication with the coaching staff and responsible for making checks at the line of scrimmage.

There are still some aspects of Pace’s game that need to be worked on, such as his ability in coverage, but the Vikings seem to have a much different linebacker room than they did one year ago.

With Brian Asamoah bringing speed and Jordan Hicks a solid run-stuffer, Pace could be the weapon that sets Flores’s defense apart and has a key role once the season begins.