Former Miami University RedHawk Ivan Pace has officially been named to the Minnesota Vikings’ initial 53-man roster.
Pace went undrafted in April, despite an incredible season last year with the University of Cincinnati (UC). Pace transferred from Miami to UC after the 2021 football season.
He's expected to play significant snaps with Minnesota this year. He sat out of the Vikings’ last preseason game, which is usually a luxury reserved for starters.
Pace also wore a green dot on his helmet at times this preseason. That means he was getting communications from the sidelines through a radio in his helmet, then communicating assignments to teammates, the quarterback of the defense.
It’s incredibly rare, possibly unheard of, for an undrafted rookie to get that assignment.
Last season, after transferring to UC, Pace was a unanimous All-American (the first in UC history), the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player Of the Year, and a finalist for both the Butkus Award (best linebacker in the country) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (National Defensive Player of the Year). He finished with 137 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, all in the top 10 of the country. He also forced three fumbles and recorded four passes defended.
Pace is 5-foot-10, undersized for an NFL linebacker. If he was 6-foot-2, it’s likely he would’ve been a first rounder.
His former Cincinnati teammate Jowan Briggs said this at a press conference on Tuesday:
“I’m not surprised at all. Some guys are just ball players, point blank period.”