5 Under-the-Radar Players at Vikings Training Camp

Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will hold training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan for the sixth season beginning this Sunday.

Rookies show up on July 23rd, with veterans arriving on July 25th.

5 Under-the-Radar Players at Vikings Training Camp

Ninety men (well, 91 with Junior Aho, an international player) will vie for 53 roster spots, and those battles begin as early as Sunday.

Along the way, these are five under-the-radar Vikings players to monitor in particular (listed in alphabetical order).

1. Ivan Pace (LB)

at Vikings Training
Sep 24, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (0) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports.

This undrafted free agent from the University of Cincinnati should’ve been drafted. The only knock on the man is size. For general managers, he’s evidently a whisker too short for the off-ball linebacker position.

Well, the Vikings didn’t care about his stature, and obviously, neither does he. Minnesota doesn’t have an insurmountable LB room, so Pace could reasonably land a roster spot to grab regular season playing time.

He must battle Troy Reeder and Troy Dye for reservist playing time if he makes the 53-man roster.

2. Jack Podlesny (K)

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs kicker Jack Podlesny (96) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

All this guy does is kick field goals and extra points in high-stakes games.

That’s what happens for a kicker at the University of Georgia, Podlesny’s alma mater. He’ll battle incumbent Vikings kicker Greg Joseph for the main job, albeit as a longshot in July and August.

Some questioned Podlesny’s leg strength leading into the 2023 NFL Draft, but he drilled a couple of boomer kicks at Vikings minicamp six weeks ago. Last season, most folks believed punter Jordan Berry would stave off UDFA punter Ryan Wright at training camp. But then Wright was victorious.

It wouldn’t be mind-boggling for Podlesny to fire up a similar feat.

3. Brandon Powell (WR)

Nov 27, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandon Powell (19) returns a kickoff during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

This dude is gunning for Jalen Reagor’s roster spot. And he might just win it.

Reagor encountered a forgettable season in 2022, his first as a Viking. Powell, a recent free-agent addition, has past ties to head coach Kevin O’Connell in Los Angeles — Super Bowl ties.

The man is essentially diet Reagor, without the fancy 1st-Round draft stock. With a profitable summer, he can win a WR5 job and possibly returns kicks or punts, too.

4. Jaquelin Roy (DT)

Tigers Jaquelin Roy during the NFL Pro Day at LSU. Wednesday, March 29, 2023. Roy was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in Round of the 2023 NFL Draft by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. © SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This gentleman was taking 1st-team reps earlier in the summer at Vikings minicamp. Of course, that could be an outlier circumstance, and perhaps Roy will devolve toward the end of the depth chart.

But what if isn’t?

Minnesota doesn’t employ total gangbusters in the middle of its defensive line, so keep an eye on Roy to see if his placement on the field at minicamp was an ‘accident.’

5. Joejuan Wiliams (CB)

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Williams has played in 36 NFL games, making him a senior citizen in the Vikings current CB room. If Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans don’t shine in training camp or the preseason, Williams could quietly slide into the CB2 role next to Byron Murphy.

A 2nd-Round draft pick in 2019, folks were once rather high on Williams’ career outlook. There’s a chance that comes to fruition in Minnesota.

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.