For the second time in four years, an Augustana football player has signed on with the Minnesota Vikings.
Offensive lineman Jake Lacina joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent on Saturday, April 27, adding his name to the same roster that holds Augustana alumnus C.J. Ham.
“This is definitely an exciting moment for me,” Lacina said. “I’ve been nervously waiting for the past few months just to finally see what’s going on with my future, and to finally get the call and know what I’m going to do was relieving and exciting at the same time.”
The 6-foot-4 senior has been a four-year starter for Augustana after redshirting his first season. He was awarded the 2019 Rimington Award for being the nation’s top NCAA Division II center and was named a First Team All-America selection by the American Football Coaches Association.
“I’m really proud of Jake,” said Augustana head football coach Jerry Olszewski. “He’s just a do-right guy and I want to see this work for him. I’m excited for the Vikings to get him, because I think they got a great one, and I just pray that he stays healthy and consistent and earns his spot with that program.”
Lacina started thinking about the possibility of playing professional football when he was a junior in college and had the opportunity to meet with NFL scouts.
“I think really, it was probably after his sophomore year and going through his junior year that he started to really understand that that was a reality,” Olszewski said. “His body continued to grow and he came in at 235 and got up to 305 the right way — he just really built his body to play at, potentially, that level.”
Of the teams that had watched Lacina, the Vikings seemed to take the most interest.
“I was definitely in contact with them,” Lacina said. “I was, I won’t say expecting, but I kind of thought that it might happen.”
Jake’s father, Corbin, also played for Augustana and later for the Minnesota Vikings. He wound up playing guard for Minnesota after spending four years playing for the Buffalo Bills and one year for the Carolina Panthers.
“It’s not often you have a father-son duo on the same team in the NFL, so he’s definitely been excited about it,” Jake said.
While Jake’s path may be similar to his father’s, he’s trying to make it on his own.
“I’m trying to pave my own path,” Jake said. “I’m just trying to see what I can do and what I can do best.”
For now, Lacina has been running and lifting homemade weights at his family’s cabin in northern Minnesota to prepare himself for the season. For the time being, he will be participating in Zoom meetings with his teammates and coaches to learn more about the organization and the playbook.