2 Vikings Quietly Snubbed Last Week

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The pair snatched attention from Pro Football Writers of America — but then that was it.

2 Vikings Quietly Snubbed Last Week

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. and wide receiver Jordan Addison were shut out as finalists for the NFL’s Rookie of the Year process last week, a head-scratching development as each man had a case for inclusion.

Quietly Snubbed Last
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The NFL announced finalists for each award last Thursday, with the Vikings on the outside looking in. These were the qualifiers for Defensive Rookie of the Year:

  • Jalen Carter (DT, Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Kobie Turner (DL, Los Angeles Rams)
  • Will Anderson Jr. (OLB, Houston Texans)
  • Devon Witherspoon (CB, Seattle Seahawks)
  • Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Pittsburgh Steelers)

The Eagles’ Jalen Carter is expected to edge Will Anderson of the Texans when the award is declared.

How Crazy Was
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According to Pro Football Focus, Pace was the NFL’s 17th-best off-ball linebacker in 2023, notably outpacing defenders like Foyesade Oluokun and Nick Bolton. He was also PFF’s top rookie linebacker — by several miles. But no love from the DROY selection process.

Pace was an assumed draft pick anywhere from Round 3 to 5 last April, but NFL general managers were evidently spooked by his size — he’s about two inches shorter than a normal off-ball linebacker. Expressing bewilderment about clubs not signing on his dotted line until after the draft, Pace posted to Instagram a picture of himself in April with the Vikings logo and a caption for the rest of the world, “Y’all done f-cked up.” He knew all along that his talent would translate to the NFL — foolish height reservations be damned.

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On offense, these men were picked as OROY finalists:

  • C.J. Stroud (QB, Houston Texans)
  • Jahmyr Gibbs (RB, Detroit Lions)
  • Bijan Robinson (RB, Atlanta Falcons)
  • Sam LaPorta (TE, Detroit Lions)
  • Puka Nacua (WR, Los Angeles Rams)

Barring a ballot-box stunner, Stroud is predicted to take home the hardware in a landslide.

Addison took the NFL by storm this season, always creating big plays with Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens under center, a fantastic opening salvo for the 21-year-old. His grand entrance was so commendable that he fetched placement on ESPN’s Top 10 Rookies of 2023 list last week. The Vikings playmaker checked in at No. 8, tied with running back Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons.

2 Vikings Snatch
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The young Vikings tabulated 911 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie, a promising building block for 2024 and beyond. His production nosedived when Joshua Dobbs took over as quarterback in Week 9 but climbed a bit when the aforementioned Mullens earned the QB1 job.

Minnesota holds the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft and is expected to draft a quarterback or impact defensive player.

Pace Jr. and Addison took home First-Team PFWA rookie honors last week.

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.