6 biggest takeaways from the Vikings loss to the Broncos in Week 11

Joshua Dobbs
Joshua Dobbs / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
5 of 7

Vikings takeaway No. 4

A rookie stepping up in a big way on defense

Jordan Hicks has been excellent for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Sadly, he was placed on injured reserve and will miss at least four games after having a procedure done following swelling on his leg.

In Hicks' place, Troy Dye started at inside linebacker. Dye played well, but it was undrafted free agent Ivan Pace Jr. who stepped up in a big way to help fill the gap left by the absence of a veteran player like Hicks.

Pace led all Vikings players with nine combined tackles against the Broncos with six of those tackles being solo efforts. He has been an excellent find for a Brian Flores defense that relies on players to make good decisions.

Seeing Pace continue to develop and show that bigger responsibility isn't too much for him is fantastic. Getting this kind of production out of an undrafted rookie is unexpected but has been a reason Minnesota's defense has improved since last season.