Monday, August 21, 2017

Ifeadi Odenigbo

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

One year ago Minnesota Vikings players were still unpacking their bags and preparing for morning walkthroughs at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato. In 2017, however, Mike Zimmer ordered his young and inexperienced troops to report three days early.

“Last year, a lot of the rookies didn’t play as much as they had in the past,” Zimmer told Chad Graff of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. “I just figured, let’s give these guys every opportunity we possibly can to get them up to speed a little quicker. We want to get them back in here, get them back doing the techniques that we’ve been working on in the spring. Kind of refresh another three days of practice with the terminology. Then when the vets get here, they’ve heard it four or five times now as opposed to just two or three.”

As a result, fans have had the luxury of enjoying an extra three days of Vikings football — and what a three days it has been. While Dalvin Cook, Pat Elflein and the rest of Minnesota’s star-studded rookie class were finding their footing, general manager Rick Spielman has been busy solidifying the future of the organization.

Everson Griffen captured headlines with a massive contract extension, but his new deal wasn’t the only pertinent information disclosed this week. So, before Sam Bradford, Harrison Smith and the rest of the Vikings veteran take the field this afternoon, let’s first catch up on the developments of the past three days.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome to the latest installment of the Vikings Territory Training Camp Primer series focusing on Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and the Minnesota Vikings’ Defensive End position.

Minnesota has long been home to a handful of the most talented and devastating defensive ends in NFL history. Players such as Chris Doleman and Carl Eller began a lasting tradition that was reinvigorated by the acquisition of Jared Allen in 2008 following roughly a decade of substandard play. All three Vikings greats are gone now, but their legacy remains intact, and a new wave of purple and gold defensive ends has begun to make its mark since Mike Zimmer took control in 2014.

Since Zimmer’s arrival, Everson Griffen has established himself as one of the most well-rounded and effective 4-3 defensive ends in professional football; Brian Robison has continued to play at a high level well into his 30s; and former third-round pick Danielle Hunter has only scratched the surface of a potential that appears destined to dominate opposing offensive tackles for the next decade.

Who will join these three Vikings mainstays as part of potentially the best 4-3 defensive end group in the NFL? Well, that is what training camp is for, my friends.

Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Training Camp Preview

In just 11 days, the Minnesota Vikings open training camp on the Minnesota State, Mankato campus. Rookie practices begin on Monday, July 24th and full team practices start Thursday, July 27th.

As usual, this time of year has brought optimism to the Vikings and their fans. But this year, things seem different. There’s good reason to be excited, as the offseason resulted in refreshing roster replacements, an influx of young talent, and a promising outlook on lovable quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

To recap the offseason moves, Minnesota added free agents Latavius Murray, Riley Reiff, Datone Jones, Michael Floyd, and Mike Remmers.

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Vikings Start Signing Rookies
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Start Signing Rookies Despite NFLPA Objections

The NFL Players Association told Minnesota Vikings draftees not to sign their rookie contracts. Apparently, there’s language in the contracts that the players union feels violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the players and the league.

Despite the NFLPA objections, rookie wide receiver Rodney Adams and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo both signed with the Vikings today without resolving the contract language. Adams was drafted in the 5th round and Odenigbo in the 7th.

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