As an undrafted rookie, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. has exceeded every expectation that was placed in front of him heading into the 2023 season. Pace has quickly established himself as a top member of Minnesota's defense this year, and his confidence has grown more and more as each week has passed by.
The rookie linebacker's confidence was on display this past Saturday following the Vikings' overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. As players and coaches were leaving the field, Pace and Bengals running back Joe Mixon got in each other's faces and had some words for one another before heading to their respective locker rooms.
Minnesota Vikings rookie LB Ivan Pace Jr. shined in loss to Cincinnati Bengals
Despite the loss to Cincinnati this past weekend, Pace still continued his recent streak of performing at a very high level.
He finished the matchup with a total of nine tackles, which was tied for the most among all Minnesota defenders with safety Cam Bynum. It was the fourth-straight game for Pace with at least nine tackles, and he now ranks fifth among Vikings players this season with a total of 77 tackles.
In the loss to the Bengals, Minnesota's rookie linebacker and the rest of his defensive teammates were able to hold Mixon to just 47 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
The Cincinnati running back did end up finding the end zone on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter, but for the most part, Pace and the Vikings defense were able to hold him in check.
So what was said between Mixon and Pace after the Bengals were able to get the win in overtime?
It's hard to make out what each of them completely said due to the crowd noise, but it seems like whatever Pace first said to Mixon, the Cincinnati running back just kept replying back, "You guys just lost, you guys just lost."
After Mixon kept saying Minnesota lost, Pace replied to the running back by saying, "You're not tough."
These two collided on the playing field a number of times on Saturday, so this was likely just a carryover from whatever trash they were probably talking during the actual game.
Could it be about something more? Possibly, but unless we find out otherwise, it seems like it was just another example of two competitive players wanting to get one more word in before heading into their locker rooms.