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Lunchbreak: Grades Vikings Rookie Class

EAGAN, Minn. – The 2023 NFL season was filled with impressive rookies across the league, including in the NFC North.

The Vikings, Lions and Bears each had at least one rookie make the PFWA All-Rookie Team, while four of Green Bay's top six leading receivers were rookies. writer Eric Edholm is grading each division's rookie class as part of a 2023 season recap. For the Vikings, he said receiver Jordan Addison dazzled. Edholm wrote

Addison was expected to be a Year 1 standout, and then he hauled in 911 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Those were phenomenal final numbers, considering Kirk Cousins missed more than half the season (while his replacements at quarterback were a weekly adventure) and Justin Jefferson was out for seven games. OK, so Addison was a bit hot and cold over the year, but can you blame him? He was mostly terrific.

Edholm points out that one of the Vikings biggest contributors was undrafted linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. Pace started 11 of 17 games and led all rookie defenders in tackles with 102. He even earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 14 after netting a career-high 13 tackles, a sack and a game-sealing interception in the Vikings 3-0 win at Las Vegas.

[Mekhi] Blackmon had some moments down the stretch. He started a few games and saw his overall workload increase as he gained confidence in [Vikings Defensive Coordinator] Brian Flores' system. He also made a few plays on the ball with his aggressive instincts. Can he start and hold up full time in 2024 with his thin build? We shall see. [Jay] Ward, [Jaquelin] Roy and [Andre] Carter [II] were deep reserves developing on defense, mostly chipping in on special teams.

Pace might have been the league's best undrafted rookie in 2023. He became the heartbeat of Flores' defense in many ways, overcoming his smallish frame with elite football IQ, terrific quickness and playmaking ability. He took over for an injured Jordan Hicks, earned the green-dot helmet and, I suspect, won't look back.

Worth noting is that Hicks regained green-dot duties when he returned for Minnesota's final two games.

Click here to read Edholm's complete NFC North rookie grades.

View home and away photos of the Vikings 2024 regular season opponents.

Josh Metellus to Co-Host 'Good Morning Football'

Last week, Vikings safety Josh Metellus appeared on NFL Network's Good Morning Football to discuss various football topics. And similar to his breakout 2023 Vikings campaign, those at "GMFB" want to expand his role on the program.

Metellus is scheduled to appear as a co-host on Good Morning Football in-person on Wednesday and Thursday alongside host Jamie Erdahl and cast members Peter Schrager, Kyle Brandt and Jason McCourty.

As one of the most popular football shows on television, *GMFB *covers the latest news highlights, analyses and discussions surrounding the NFL. During his 10-minute segment last week, Metellus impressed with colorful responses to questions about his versatile playing style, the Chiefs and 49ers offenses, and what it was like playing for new Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh from 2016 to 2019 at Michigan.

Good Morning Football airs live Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. (CT).