You already know about the big commitment the Minnesota Vikings made to Army edge rusher Andre Carter II in undrafted free agency. But Carter isn’t all there is to like about the Vikings’ undrafted free agent haul, as a couple of websites have made clear over the past few days.
Over at Pro Football Focus, the Vikings didn’t just get the top player on their Top 10 list of undrafted free agents, they got the top two in Carter and Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace Jr.
According to the PFF rankings, Pace was actually the top UDFA available, while Carter was #2 (but not by much). Here’s what PFF had to say about Pace and Carter:
Pace was the highest-graded linebacker in the FBS last season, earning a 93.2 overall grade, which included a 90.7 run-defense grade (third) and a 93.3 pass-rush grade (first) that led to 55 pressures and 12 sacks — both the most among linebackers. Pace was one of the smaller linebackers in the draft at 5-foot-10 and 231 pounds and only scored a 5.71 relative athletic score (RAS), but his on-field quickness and blitzing ability should allow for a perfect fit in Brian Flores’ defense.
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The Vikings strike again, grabbing the 6-foot-7 and 260-pound Carter, who earned a 93.4 pass-rush grade in 2021 with Army, which tied Aidan Hutchinson for the best in the FBS among edge defenders. In 2022, Carter could not build on his elite 2021 season, which also saw him post 59 pressures and 15 sacks, but he still earned strong pass-rush marks (82.1) and has the size and length to make him worth investing in as a project edge rusher.
And that’s not all, as the Vikings did well on ESPN’s list of the Top 25 undrafted free agents. The Vikings were the only team to nab three players on the ESPN list: Pace (#2), Carter (#13), and Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles (#24). The 6’2”, 200-pound Knowles was a First-Team All-Big 12 kick returner in 2021 and a Second-Team All-Big 12 receiver in 2022, a season that saw him catch 48 passes for 725 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Vikings signed fifteen undrafted free agents in the post-draft signing frenzy, and while Carter and Pace have gotten most of the attention, there could be a few hidden gems among the rest of the UDFA class as well.
Is it time for Training Camp yet?