You can chalk it up to a failure of the pre-draft process, or you can credit scouting departments across the league for unearthing gems that no one else could. No matter which way you try to spin it, there is something undeniably cool about undrafted rookies making a team’s 53-man roster. They are the NFL’s equivalent of a major upset during March Madness, and we’re here for every single one of them. The Minnesota Vikings did a great job of unearthing some post-draft gems in 2023, keeping three total on their roster this season.
A look at the Minnesota Vikings UDFA steals in 2023
Perhaps this is premature, but there are rumblings that Pace could be in line to actually start for the Vikings when the 2023 season kicks off…
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had a 5th-round grade on Pace coming out in this year’s draft:
"A rare blend of leverage, toughness and tackle obsession makes Pace’s tape a fun day of film study. He might be one of the strongest players in the 2023 NFL Draft from a pound-for-pound standpoint. He’s able to slip and club blockers out of the way with lower-body anchor and elite contact balance. He was cleared to take shots downhill by the defense, which bolstered his production, but his instincts and feel for finding routes to the ball seem to drive him. It is hard not to love Pace’s game tape, but his lack of length and speed could create inconsistencies at the next level.Lance Zierlein"
You know how you can tell when a guy impressed on tape? When NFL teams sign him despite not showing well in the pre-draft process athletically. The Vikings pulled Thompson from Georgia Southern after scoring as low as you will pretty much ever see on the RAS scale.