The 4 Best New Vikings thru 2 Games

Ivan Pace Jr. of Colerain High School wins boys athlete of the year award during their Sports Awards, sponsored by TriHealth, on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at Cincinnati Music Hall in Cincinnati. © Albert Cesare / The Enquirer.

The Minnesota Vikings have 15 games remaining, dropping the first two showdowns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, a melancholy start after a 13-4 record in 2022.

The 4 Best New Vikings thru 2 Games

The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Minnesota for a date with the Vikings on September 24th, a contest almost seeming like desperation for Kevin O’Connell’s team.

And with two games in the books, these are the four best Vikings newcomers from the offseason. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = best).

4. Josh Oliver (TE)

New Vikings thru
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Josh Oliver (84) runs after the catch as Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean (35) makes the tackle and linebacker Anthony Nelson (98) moves in to assist during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

According to Pro Football Focus, newcomer TE Josh Oliver is the Vikings fifth-best player on offense, banking an impressive 75.5 grade through two games, with a noteworthy 78.2 pass-blocking score. His run-blocking will need improvement — the entire team, on the whole, must fix this — but so far, Oliver is a wise addition to the offense.

He’s also snatched 5 passes for 45 yards, a decent achievement as a new TE2.

3. Mekhi Blackmon (CB)

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (11) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) talk during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Blackmon owns a 66.8 PFF score through a couple of games, which isn’t Hall of Fame worthy but is respectable for his first two games as a pro. Minnesota will need all the help it can find at cornerback, especially from youngsters, and Blackmon’s early trajectory is promising.

He’s receiving playing time when last year’s second-rounder, Andrew Booth, is not.

2. Jordan Addison (WR)

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) celebrates his first career touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The 23rd overall pick has not disappointed — not one iota.

Fashioned as the Vikings WR3, Addison looks more like a WR2 and should formally grab that title before too long, in spirit if not in title. The young playmaker has already scored two touchdowns, absolutely dispelling any Vikings fans’ fear that Addison could end up like a Laquon Treadwell, a draft bust seven years ago.

Write it down — Addison is the real deal.

1. Ivan Pace (ILB)

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. (LB23) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

This undrafted linebacker owns an 85.2 PFF grade through two games, which is better than most defenders who’ve spent multiple years in the NFL. Pace should be buried on the bench or the practice squad like a normal undrafted asset, but he’s so productive that he’s quietly become a starter.

Minnesota conducted a wonderful post-draft transaction by adding Pace, who looks like a starting linebacker for years to come.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by