Odenigbo will be Minnesota’s starting right defensive end
Minnesotans treasure their underdog stories and Ifeadi Odenigbo is another one in this saga.
Prior to last year, Odenigbo was a practice squad guy that had only played in one professional football game in his life when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018
A year and a half later, he is the crystalline favorite to become a starting defensive end for the Vikings. Odenigbo will have to stave off competition in training camp from free-agent signee Anthony Zettel and rookie Kenny Willekes. But that should not be a problem for him.
In 2019, Odenigbo 8-Miled his way to a starter’s gig while registering seven sacks in just a third of the team’s defensive snaps. He threw in a grand total of 23 pressures and another seven tackles for loss. His 2019 magnum opus was a fumble return touchdown during Minnesota’s Week 15 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Now, all of this rosy excitement for Odenigbo could be tossed out the window if Vikings lifer Everson Griffen returns home. Griffen made it abundantly clear in March that he was moving on from Minnesota, but we shall see.
If Griffen does not return, the Vikings have shown through offseason decision-making that Odenigbo is the next man up. If this is the case, his journey to becoming a starter will combine all the “feels” of both Griffen and Adam Thielen‘s ascendance up the depth chart in this last decade.
If you need further proof of Minnesota’s affinity for Odenigbo, look at this year’s NFL Draft. They spent zero dollars of early-round draft capital on defensive ends.