One Young Viking Itching to Blitz Patrick Mahomes

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The Kansas City Chiefs have won two of the last four Super Bowls, and the team’s leader, Patrick Mahomes, will make his first trip to U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday.

Mahomes has never faced the Minnesota Vikings, and in fact, Minnesota is the only team (besides the Chiefs) he hasn’t conquered in his young career.

One Young Viking Itching to Blitz Patrick Mahomes

And while Mahomes seeks to complete the quest of defeating all 31 NFL teams this weekend, one rookie Vikings defender is itching to blitz the league’s MVP — linebacker Ivan Pace.

Itching to Blitz
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The undrafted free agent has conducted a magnificent start to his career, notching an 80.7 Pro Football Focus grade through four games, also known as the eighth-best in the NFL among all linebackers.

KSTP‘s Darren Wolfson asked the rookie standout if he would go after Mahomes this weekend, and Pace replied, “Yeah, I can blitz Mahomes. Yes, I can catch him. They just gotta send me after him, and I’m gonna go get him.”

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The Chiefs have started the 2023 campaign a bit disjointed on offense, kept afloat by a suddenly good defense and ample cameos in suites from Taylor Swift. Of course, the Chiefs offense certainly isn’t bad; it’s just out of sync at times by its lofty standards.

Pace also mentioned relief of getting the first win at Carolina, “Victory Monday feels good, man. It’s always a good feeling. Even in college, it was a good feeling. Just coming back into the locker room and knowing that we all got a big smile on our face. It’s great to have our first win.”

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Minnesota bested the Panthers on the road in Week 4, a season-saving event, as the precedent of teams starting a season with an 0-4 record and later reaching the postseason is close to nil. The Vikings defense surrendered 232 yards and zero touchdowns while tabulating 5 sacks and a defensive touchdown courtesy of EDGE rusher D.J. Wonnum.

Pace logged 5 tackles at Carolina and hopes for more in Week 5 versus the champs.

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The Cincinnati alumnus also credited teammate Jordan Hicks with aid in his rookie maturation, “Jordan Hicks took me under his wing, and we watch film together. Really, it’s all film-based, learning the defense. It slows the game down a lot if you watch film more.”

Teams that blitz Mahomes don’t typically fare well, but the Vikings defense, led by defensive coordinator Brian Flores, lives and dies by the blitz. It died in games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers in Weeks 2 and 3.

We shall see if Pace’s efforts move the needle on Sunday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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