When — or if — the Vikings open the season towards the Packers at U.S. Financial institution Stadium on Sept. 13, Ifeadi Odenigbo will seemingly be launched as a starter at defensive finish.
However Odenigbo’s actual introduction to Vikings devoted got here in a 56-yard fumble return for a landing towards the Chargers final December in Carson, Calif. Now that he’s on the radar … he may grow to be a widely known title as he steps in following the departure of 10-year veteran Everson Griffen.
Meaning Odenigbo may grow to be a three-down participant after getting used primarily in move dashing conditions throughout his first full yr within the NFL in 2019.
“Watching movie, I’ve seen my growth from [last] preseason after I was move dashing towards Week 14 after I began to get right into a groove,” Odenigbo stated Thursday throughout a Zoom teleconference. “My strategy this yr is to be extra environment friendly.”
Vikings gamers are having two-hour video conferences most days with their coaches, and Odenigbo’s group is being tutored by co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, who has been the defensive position coach beneath Mike Zimmer since 2014.
“So what we attempt to do,” Odenigbo stated, “throughout the Zoom assembly — good factor the cameras are off — Coach ’Dre will say issues and he’ll inform me I want to do that, and I’ll type of get into my stance when nobody is ready to see me, and I begin visualizing, I begin doing energy steps … ’trigger it begins with visualizing, and when you’ll be able to visualize, you’re in a position to apply.”
Odenigbo, 26, was a seventh-round draft decide in 2017 and spent his rookie season on the observe squad. He was minimize in 2018 and frolicked on the Cleveland, Arizona and Vikings observe squads, turning down a late-season alternative to signal with the Eagles to stay in Minnesota. He performed in each recreation final season, getting seven sacks whereas enjoying each deal with and finish.
With Griffen and nostril deal with Linval Joseph gone, the Vikings seemingly will construct the road round Professional Bowl defensive finish Danielle Hunter, Odenigbo and tackles Shamar Stephen and Michael Pierce, a free-agent signing. And the early levels of that construct have include gamers checking in remotely and shedding the possibility for hands-on teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Adversity comes at you other ways,” Odenigbo stated. “I’ve been watching this Michael Jordan documentary and watching all of the adversity he’s come by way of … this pandemic — yeah, we’re not collectively, individuals are utilizing excuses, [but] that is my time to get proper.”
As for moving into Griffen’s spot, Odenigbo stated, “I’m taking that strategy,” including: “I obtained to review him and examine his mechanics, Everson, the way in which he goes about it, there’s no wasted motion. As a vet now, I do know the method and the basics, it’s simply work out the mechanics, simply fine-tune the little particulars.
“We’re on this limbo land, and I’m working arduous coaching, however I’m additionally looking for the appropriate time to peak. There’s no level in me peaking in June proper now. If we don’t have OTAs, mid July or one thing, I’ll actually up the conditioning, as a result of there’s after I’ve obtained to get used to enjoying 40-50 snaps [a game].”
For now, he’s having fun with watching the first-year gamers undergo the orientation of changing into a professional, and remembering when his head was swimming in an identical scenario.
“As a rookie you get in and Coach ’Dre is educating all this move dashing, run stance, all that stuff so it’s an overload to the mind,” he stated. “You bought to take it in bits and items; I used to be lucky that Coach Patterson was affected person. Once I first obtained there I regarded type of sluggish or type of hesitant due to all that data, and I turned extra snug and began feeling extra confidence, it turned simpler.
“So an important factor as a younger man … is simply shopping for in. Coach is absolute, know what I imply? Coach ’Dre has a powerful résumé, he’s been doing it ceaselessly. There’s actually no level of ever doubting him. … Simply do what Coach ’Dre says and he’ll get you proper.”