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Ivan Pace Jr. dubbed the Vikings’ most underrated player by PFF

The 2023 season was one full of ups and downs for the Minnesota Vikings. The season started off on the wrong foot, with good offensive performances but turnovers galore. Then Kirk Cousins went down for the season, and all hope was presumed lost. Despite the injury, the Vikings reeled off a slew of wins in a row and managed to keep themselves in the playoff picture until the season’s final few weeks.

They were able to do so largely due to the defense’s performance. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores turned the Vikings defense around in a major way, getting some major contributions from some unlikely sources, such as Vikings undrafted free agent Ivan Pace Jr.

Pace had such a good season last year in his rookie campaign that Zoltan Buday of PFF has named him the Vikings most underrated player heading into the 2024 season.

Pace put up some truly impressive numbers in his rookie season. He was one of only two linebackers to earn a PFF grade of 77.0 or higher in both pass coverage and pass rush —the other being San Francisco 49ers star Fred Warner. Pace got out to a hot start, too, posting the third-highest linebacker grade through three weeks.

According to PFF, though, his performance tailed off at the end of the season. He still posted one of the best rookie campaigns from an undrafted player, and fans should expect some big things from him in 2024 and beyond.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire