Five questions about Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo with SBNation’s Inside NU

Sep 10, 2016; Evanston, IL, USA; Illinois State Redbirds quarterback Jake Kolbe (16) is sacked by Northwestern Wildcats defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo (7) and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (1) during the first half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2016; Evanston, IL, USA; Illinois State Redbirds quarterback Jake Kolbe (16) is sacked by Northwestern Wildcats defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo (7) and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (1) during the first half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Who is Minnesota Vikings rookie defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo? We asked SBNation’s Inside NU to talk about his college career and NFL potential.

During day 3 of the NFL draft, some fans tend to stop watching the draft and assume that only players drafted in the first few rounds will have an impact on teams like the Minnesota Vikings in the future.

However, there have been plenty of cases where late-round picks either exploded onto the scene or developed into fantastic players. One of those individuals could be Vikings 7th round draft pick Ifeadi Odenigbo.

To find out a little more about Odenigbo, we asked co-Editor in Chief of the SBNation Northwestern site Inside NU and lifelong Vikings fan Will Ragatz to answer 5 questions about the rookie defensive lineman.

Here are the questions and his responses to them:

What are some of the positive things that Ifeadi Odenigbo will bring to the Minnesota Vikings?

“First and foremost, Odenigbo will bring NFL athleticism and pass-rushing ability. His broad jump at the combine was tied for second (with No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett) among all defensive linemen and his 40-yard dash was top-tier as well. During his one season as a starter last year, he used that explosiveness and solid strength to record 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Odenigbo has several moves he can use to get to the quarterback, and much like recent great Vikings pass-rushers Jared Allen and Everson Griffen, he has a motor that seemingly never turns off.”

Are there any major reasons the team should be concerned about this pick, on or off the field?

“Odenigbo comes with exactly zero baggage off the field, which is always refreshing. The son of Nigerian immigrants, he is an intelligent, hard-working guy who is a pleasure to be around and talk to. I vividly remember the awesome press conference he gave after his four-sack performance in Iowa City last season, where he spoke eloquently and motivationally about what he told his teammates before their crucially important game against the Hawkeyes. The word from Vikings media people is that he was similarly fantastic in his post-draft conference call with reporters. Odenigbo is going to bring everything he has and stay out of trouble off the field. I mean, he does things like go back to his elementary school on Teacher Appreciation Day. On the field, there are obviously reasons why the former top recruit fell to the seventh round. He struggles with his instincts against the run, which is why he was never able to become a three-down player at Northwestern until his senior year. Additionally, he doesn’t have great length for the position and needs to continue to add to his pass-rushing arsenal.”

Overall, what kind of player did the Minnesota Vikings get in the seventh round by selecting Odenigbo?

“As both a Northwestern and Vikings fan, I think this was a solid value pick. Odenigbo is a raw, athletic pass-rusher who needs a lot of refining due to his lack of experience. For Vikings fans, that description surely calls to mind Danielle Hunter, who was also a raw athlete at DE and has become one of the better young players in the NFL after slipping to the fourth round. Now, I’m not saying Odenigbo is the next Hunter. Hunter is an athletic freak and has much better length than Odenigbo. Still, it’s encouraging that Mike Zimmer, George Edwards and defensive line coach Andre Patterson have had so much success teaching technique and versatility to Hunter. If they can help Odenigbo make similar strides, he could turn into a useful player.”

What are some things about Odenigbo that Minnesota fans might not know, but should?

“I can provide some details on his background. Odenigbo has only been playing football since he was a sophomore in high school. Still, he quickly dominated with his athleticism and was a blue-chip recruit out of Centerville, OH, who had offers from elite programs like Ohio State, Michigan and USC. When he chose Northwestern (because of its academics), he became the highest-rated recruit in school history. Once he arrived on campus, though, his lack of size and still-developing understanding of the game meant he was a work in progress. It didn’t help that he dealt with some injuries early on in his career, either. Odenigbo persevered, bulking up and constantly working to improve his game, which took him from being a pass-rush specialist to a crucial starter and leader as a senior. Also, his full first name is Ifeadikachakwu and his little brother plays D-line for Illinois.”

Do you feel Odenigbo will succeed at the professional level with the Minnesota Vikings?

“I certainly hope so, and there are reasons for optimism. As I’ve mentioned, Odenigbo has always shown the ability to work hard and get better throughout his football career. The physical tools are there; even though he’s not super tall and has short arms, he makes up for it with explosive core strength and great burst. He’s also already got several excellent moves to beat tackles one-on-one. Scroll down a bit on Inside NU’s scouting report of Odenigbo to see some impressive highlights from his domination of Iowa. He’s going to show up at Winter Park with a determination to succeed. Yes, there are physical limitations and a lot of improvement needed, especially in the run game, but I’m cautiously optimistic that with Patterson’s coaching, Odenigbo can come along slowly, surpass guys like BJ Dubose and Stephen Weatherly and eventually become a solid contributor to help replace Brian Robison and eventually, Griffen.”

Next: 5 questions about Dalvin Cook

Huge thanks go out to Will Ragatz of SBNation’s Inside NU for taking the time to answer some questions about new Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo. You can follow Inside NU on Facebook and Twitter as well as Will Ragatz’s personal Twitter account.