Vikings UDFA Jake Lacina Following in His Dad's Footsteps

Will Ragatz

As we count down the days until the Vikings' opener against the Packers on September 13th, InsideTheVikings will be previewing every single player on the roster. The amount of days remaining corresponds with the jersey number of the player being examined on that day. Today is July 13th, and there are 62 days until kickoff for the 2020 regular season. But I missed yesterday, so here's a look at No. 63 before we get back on schedule.

Countdown to Vikings-Packers on September 13th: 62 Days

Player Preview: Jake Lacina (No. 63, Center)

Lacina
Photo credits: Augustana University Athletics
  • College: Augustana (D-II)
  • Drafted: 2020 UDFA
  • NFL experience: N/A
  • Age: 23 (Turns 24 in October)
  • Size: 6'4", 300

Jake Lacina has been dreaming about being a Minnesota Viking for over two decades. It's in his blood. His father, Corbin Lacina, played guard for the Vikings from 1999 to 2002. As a young kid, Jake attended training camps in Mankato and games at the Metrodome while wearing Corbin's No. 63 jersey.

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Photo courtesy of the Lacina family, via The Pioneer Press

Twenty years later, Lacina will get to wear the No. 63 for real. After a standout career as Augustana's starting center, the Vikings signed him as an undrafted free agent. If Lacina is able to make the team, he would become the first son of a former Viking to ever suit up for the franchise.

Lacina has been following in his dad's footsteps for his whole football career. They both attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, and they both played their college football at Augustana, a tiny D-II school in Sioux Falls, SD (which happens to be the alma mater of Vikings fullback C.J. Ham). But having gone undrafted, Lacina faces long odds of carving out a decade-long NFL career like his father – who was a sixth-round pick in 1993 – was able to do.

The younger Lacina didn't even make the varsity team at CDH until his junior year. As a sophomore, he was still playing on the sophomore team, coached by his dad. And he wasn't even a starter to begin the season, as Corbin Lacina explained to Vikings.com's Lindsey Young.

"Jake was probably a 130-pound freshman, maybe a 150-pound sophomore," Corbin told Vikings.com. "He wasn't even in my starting five. … But he showed something to where he worked his way into the group, and he ended up starting all the games for the sophomore team at the left guard position. But he wasn't there to begin with, to be honest with you.

Lacina still weighed less than 200 pounds during his first season on the varsity team, which meant he wasn't receiving any interest from college programs. But he filled out as a senior in 2014 and had a great season, being named second team all-state. After redshirting during his first year at Augustana, Lacina then started 45 straight games over the next four years.

Lacina gained 15 pounds during his redshirt year, and then jumped up 25 more to 300 as a junior. Last year, he won the D-II Rimington Trophy as the best center in the nation at that level. He was also named a D-II All-American. Lacina may have had a shot to get drafted had he been able to participate in the University of Minnesota's pro day in March, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, he got a call from the Vikings after the draft. They gave Lacina just $6,300 guaranteed to sign as a UDFA, which feels like it might have something to do with the No. 63 jersey that his dad wore and that he now inherits.

Lacina might be a longshot to make the 53-man roster, but the Vikings didn't sign him just because of his father. They need to find answers on the interior of their offensive line, and he'll have a chance to compete for a spot on the team or the practice squad. At 6'4", 300, with good athleticism and technique, Lacina might just follow in his dad's footsteps one more time and carve out a career in the NFL.

Previous OL player previews:

You can find every single player preview to date – plus other offseason content – in this handy spreadsheet.

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