4 Vikings who have exceeded expectations so far this season

(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Ifeadi Odenigbo /

Ifeadi Odenigbo – DE

Things looked bleak for Ifeadi Odenigbo when the Vikings traded for Yannick Ngakoue before the season began. This saw the defensive end drop to an expected rotational role once again. But given the serious injury suffered by Danielle Hunter that ended his campaign without playing a snap, Odenigbo is now the team’s No. 1 pass-rushing option.

Ngakoue didn’t last long in Minnesota and he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens after just six games. This was probably down to the fact he wasn’t too keen on signing a new deal with a struggling team and nobody will benefit from this more than Odenigbo.

His physical attributes make him a force to be reckoned with on the edge. Odenigbo is clearly thriving with more responsibility on his shoulders and this has only enhanced his long-term aspirations with the franchise.

The former seventh-round pick has 2.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 12 pressures in 71 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season. Odenigbo’s explosiveness is coupled with supreme power that makes him a nightmare to block at the top of his game and the way he’s adjusted to being the primary focus of opposing protection schemes has more than exceeded expectations.

This will change if Hunter gets back to anything like the player of old once he recovers from a neck injury. But having the Pro Bowler back should enable Odenigbo to thrive even more.