2 Vikings Snatch Rookie Honors

ivan pace
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday, Danielle Hunter earned the award from Pro Football Writers of America, named to the PFWA’s All-NFC First team.

The good news continued Tuesday for the Vikings as wide receiver Jordan Addison and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. grabbed PFWA’s All-Rookie First Team kudos.

2 Vikings Snatch Rookie Honors

Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling tweeted, “Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison and linebacker Ivan Pace were both selected to the PFWA Writers’ All-Rookie team. Addison made it alongside the Rams’ Puka Nacua, while Pace joins the Lions’ Jack Campbell and the Rams’ Byron Young as the LBs.”

2 Vikings Snatch
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

While certainly welcomed, the PFWA heat for Addison and Pace Jr. was wildly unsurprising. For virtually all of 2023, the men turned heads as rookies: Addison with touchdowns and Pace Jr. with consistency. The two men, though, arrived to the Vikings’ doorsteps via different paths. Minnesota spent its 1st-Round pick on Addison last April but found Pace Jr. from the University of Cincinnati in undrafted free agency.

The two stood out regardless and made their mark official this week with the tip of the cap from PFWA.

Rookie Voted
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

This is PFWA’s All-Rookie team on offense:

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texas

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings
Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams

Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Joe Tippmann
, New York Jets

Steve Avila, Los Angeles Rams
O’Cyrus Torrence, Buffalo Bills

Dawand Jones, Cleveland Browns
Darnell Wright, Chicago Bears

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

The defense:

Will Anderson Jr., Houston Texans
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
Tuli Tuipulotu, Los Angeles Chargers
Kobie Turner, Los Angeles Rams

Jack Campbell, Detroit Lions
Ivan Pace Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams

Joey Porter Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers
Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks

Jordan Battle, Cincinnati Bengals
Ji’Ayir Brown, San Francisco 49ers

And special teams:

Jake Moody, San Francisco 49ers

Bryce Baringer, New England Patriots

Marvin Mims Jr., Denver Broncos

Derius Davis, Los Angeles Chargers

Jerrick Reed II, Seattle Seahawks

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.

Dodged Bullet
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

For Pace, According to Pro Football Focus, he was the NFL’s 17th-best off-ball linebacker in 2023, notably outpacing defenders like Foyesade Oluokun and Nick Bolton. He’s also PFF’s top rookie linebacker — by several miles.

Pace was assumed to be drafted anywhere from Round 3 to 5 last April, but NFL general managers were evidently turned off by his size — he’s about two inches shorter than a normal off-ball linebacker. Expressing bafflement 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 — silly height reservations be damned.

The Vikings own the 11th pick in this year’s draft, hoping to recreate the Addison + Pace Jr. stardom.

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.