Vikings rookie DE hampered by freak accident suffered at hotel
MANKATO — Once again, the Vikings have a player in training camp hampered by a cut foot suffered in a freak accident.
Last year, it was quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who tried to pry open a door when locked out of his home shortly before reporting to camp. He suffered a cut tendon and didn't return to practice until Oct. 19.
An injury suffered by Minnesota rookie defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo last month wasn't as bad, but he said it still has bothered him during the first week of camp at Minnesota State Mankato. At an Eden Prairie hotel where Vikings players stayed during spring drills, Odenigbo suffered a severe cut when a gate at the swimming pool caught the back of his right heel.
"The gate closed on me, and it had some chipped metal and it went right into my heel, so that was my Achilles' heel," Odenigbo, a seventh-round pick from Northwestern, told the Pioneer Press. "It was a freak accident. When I was going (through the gate), it just nicked my heel and blood was gushing everywhere. It was a big, deep cut.
"There was too much skin ripped off for me to have stitches. It was pretty gross. ... It was like a fishing rod went into my skin and you yanked the skin out.''
Odenigbo said the injury occurred in the second week of June during the final session of organized team activities. Amazingly, he didn't miss any practice time that week or during a June 13-15 minicamp, but he was certainly hampered.
"I didn't (miss any time) because I'm out there trying to compete for a job,'' Odenigbo said. "It was actually a big hindrance to my training. I couldn't wear cleats. This is the first week where I'm wearing shoes. I was working out without any shoes on every day. I had socks on.''
It "still hurts to put pressure on it," he added.
Odenigbo said he's talking with hotel officials about the incident but is more concerned now about not letting anything distract him from football. He said the loose metal on the gate has been "covered up pretty well'' since the incident.
As is the case with any seventh-round pick, Odenigbo knows he is no cinch to make the team. The Vikings, though, are intrigued by the pass-rushing ability of the 6-foot-3, 258-pound end who had 10 sacks last season for the Wildcats.
"He's probably going to have to be a power rusher because he's a physical kind of guy,'' head coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's going to be a different kind of rusher than our other guys."
Odenigbo has been described as a pass-rushing specialist. He isn't thrilled by that label, but understands why it has been used. "I guess I'm getting recognized for the sacks I had on the collegiate level,'' he said.
If Odenigbo is going to get sacks in the NFL, he believes he must use more finesse.
"The emphasis in the NFL, it's really hands," he said. "In college, you can get away with it because at times you're going against redshirt freshmen, redshirt sophomores, and sometimes I'm going to be stronger than those guys and it's going to be easy.
"But in the NFL, you're going against grown men, men with children, so that's a different experience. The strength that I had in college, I still have it in the NFL, but it's not my go-to move, so I need to find different change-up moves."
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