4 Unsung Vikings Players Who Could Earn Roster Spots

Ivan Pace Jr.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

About four Minnesota Vikings training camp practices are in the books for 2023 as the club prepares for Kevin O’Connell’s second season.

The Vikings finished 13-4 in O’Connell’s maiden voyage last year.

4 Unsung Vikings Players Who Could Earn Roster Spots

And at camp, 91 players vie for 53 roster spots, with roughly 16 players heading to the practice squad as well.

There’s still plenty of training camp to play out, but as of July 29th, these are four unsung Vikings players who could earn roster spots, listed alphabetically.

1. Tay Gowan (CB)

4 Unsung Vikings
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

Five Vikings corners have jobs likely sewn up, but what if the club keeps six or has special teams plans for one or two of the men?

Gowan joined the Vikings last year and remains on the 91-man roster. He’s also tweeted all offseason that he deserves a keynote job in this league and claims he’s often ‘slept on.’ Minnesota also has tremendous uncertainty at cornerback, meaning every spot after free-agent newcomer Byron Murphy is up for grabs.

Perhaps Gowan can snag a roster spot and actionize his prevalent self-promotion.

2. Trishton Jackson (WR)

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Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison, and Jalen Nailor have already locked up roster spots. That’s four men, and the WR room will include five or six.

Therefore, Jalen Reagor, Brandon Powell, Thayer Thomas, and Trishton Jackson will compete for the last or second-to-last spot. Jackson has looked promising at training camp and seems to fit in with the WR culture.

The Vikings employ a fabulous WR coach in Keenan McCardell, and Jackson, who has been associated with the Vikings for a while, could make the 53-man roster, especially if Reagor is a cut casualty.

3. Ivan Pace Jr. (LB)

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This undrafted rookie free agent is already running with the defensive second team, indicating a 53-man roster job is afoot. The only knock — like, at all — on Pace Jr. coming out of Cincinnati was his height. His 5’10” stature is referenced so frequently that it probably gets on his nerves.

Minnesota appears to believe in the UDFA, and because the defense doesn’t showcase any big-name linebackers after Eric Kendricks’ departure in March, Pace Jr. is tunneling toward the regular season roster.

Too, defensive coordinator Brian Flores coached linebackers in Pittsburgh last year, so he’ll be an apt judge of talent.

4. Brandon Powell (WR)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

A former coworker of Kevin O’Connell’s when the Los Angeles Rams won a Super Bowl, Powell has the player-coach connection. He has a history of returning punts, even taking one to the house against the Vikings in 2021.

Powell could steal Jalen Reagor’s job, and it wouldn’t feel weird at all. O’Connell knows his skillset quite intimately.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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