Ifeadi Odenigbo Heads Back to the AFC

Colts Waive Former
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Giants defensive end Ifeadikachakwu Odenigbo. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Training camp is right around the corner for most teams. The New York Jets and their new quarterback, ex-Vikings rival Aaron Rodgers, behind their training camp on Saturday. HBO’s cameras will follow them, as they are officially the team featured on the show ‘Hard Knocks.’

Ifeadi Odenigbo Heads Back to the AFC

Ifeadi Odenigbo Heads
Dec 15, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) celebrates sacking Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (left n ground) with teammate defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) in the third quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

Three former Vikings players were scheduled to be part of the show, but now a new one joins the operation. Former Vikings starting defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo signed a contract with the Jets right in time to participate in training camp.

In the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft, general manager Rick Spielman added another edge rusher to a crowded position group. The roster already included star rusher Everson Griffen, multi-year starter Brian Robison and up and coming superstar Danielle Hunter.

Born in New Jersey, Odenigbo is returning home. While Vikings fans know him as Ifeadi, his full name is a little more complicated. The son of Nigerian parents has the name Ifeadikachukwu Anthony Odenigbo. He was the first member of his family born in the United States.

In High School, his team achieved a state championship, and he was recognized with multiple Player of the Year honors. Outside of football, he was an exceptional athlete who competed in the 200 and 400-meter dash and set records. He moved on to play football at Northwestern, where Odenigbo ended his collegiate career as the second-best in the sack category with 23.5.

Oct 16, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (59) and linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The former college standout spent his rookie year in the NFL on the Vikings’ practice squad. After he was cut in September 2018 on the final cut day, the Browns claimed the former Vikings pass rusher off waivers and waived him just three weeks later, and the Cardinals claimed him. Odenigbo played his first career game for them, but once again, he didn’t last long with the team.

By claiming him, the Vikings brought their former pass rusher back to the organization, and he was a part of the practice squad again. In 2019, he made the 53-man roster and appeared in all 16 games. Odenigbo recorded incredible seven sacks and even scored a touchdown after a fumble recovery.

Hunter missed the entire 2020 season, and Griffen left in free agency, so the starting spots were up for grabs. Odenigbo started all 15 of his games that season but failed to reach the same level of play he provided in 2019.

Oct 30, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) runs the ball while Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (59) defend in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After the 2020 season, Odenigbo was once again a free agent. He quickly signed a contract with the New York Giants but was released at the end of Training Camp.

After he had two stints with the Vikings, the Browns also picked him up for a second time. Odenigbo played nine games for the 2021 Cleveland Browns but failed to get a single sack, but he recovered a crucial fumble in Week 14 against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens.

Last year, Odenigbo joined the Colts, where he recorded 3.5 sacks but was released in December and spent a couple of weeks on the practice squad of the Buccaneers.

Odenigbo is 29 and trying to return to his 2019 form.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt