Twenty-three-year-old Jake Lacina is as decorated as any rookie comes. Coming out of Augustana University (S.D.), Lacina earned all-American honors and was named the best center in Division II football.
Lacina, who grew up playing for Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., is the son of a former Vikings offensive lineman, Corbin Lacina, and could be the first son of a Viking to make the regular-season roster.
Jake went undrafted and signed with the Vikings back in April and has spent the following months preparing to battle for a spot on the Vikings roster come training camp — but his dreams of playing for the same team his dad did could be cut short.
“My dad has just been telling me that, going in there as an undrafted free agent, I’ve got to stand out,” Lacina told the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “I’ve got to go in there and do my thing and impress someone.”
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Cuts to Training Camp Roster Due to COVID-19
There have been several reports that teams will have to cut their rosters to 80 players as a measure of mitigating the risk of coronavirus at training camp. The normal number was 90 before the pandemic and the Vikings currently have 87 players rostered. That means seven players will have to be cut before they even meet the Vikings staff that deemed them worthy of a roster spot to begin with.
Rookies, quarterbacks and selected players arrive to training camp on Thursday, followed by the rest of the roster on Tuesday. Next week will mark when NFL teams will finalize their training camp rosters. It remains to be seen if Jake will make the cut before he ever touches the turf at the Vikings training camp, but it’s likely the 12 undrafted free agents the Vikings picked up this offseason will be first on the chopping block.
Rookies this offseason haven’t had the same luxury of rookie OTAs in the spring and won’t have the chance to play any preseason games to prove themselves. Their futures in the NFL will rely solely on their performance at training camp.
Last season, 31 percent of NFL rosters were made up of undrafted free agents (UDFA). Stars like Adam Thielen, Chris Harris Jr. and Michael Bennett may not have ever emerged had they not been given a chance as a UDFA.
“I was definitely very bummed to hear that there will be no preseason games,” Lacina told Tomasson. “Like everything, that’s not going to help undrafted free agents. … I just hope that I get a chance.”
On Friday, NFL officials proposed to team officials that teams would be allowed until Aug. 16 to cut down to 80 players or have split-squad practices with a regular 90-man training camp roster. No plan has been confirmed yet.
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.