Minnesota's remaining defensive ends on the roster will have plentiful opportunities for playing time in the final 10 games of 2020.
The Vikings traded Yannick Ngakoue last week during their bye after six games in Purple, and Head Coach Mike Zimmer announced on Wednesday that Danielle Hunter underwent successful surgery on a herniated disc in his neck.
That's 147 games (116 starts) and 97 combined sacks off the 53-man roster in a short span.
The players left at the post are Ifeadi Odenigbo (23 games, 6 starts, 9.5 sacks), Jalyn Holmes (17, 1, 1.0), rookie D.J. Wonnum (5, 0, 1.0) and newcomer Jordan Brailford (0, 0, 0), who was signed off Washington's practice squad two weeks ago.
Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press noted that Odenigbo, who is older than Ngakoue or Hunter, is the statesman of the group and finding his voice.
Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo spent the early part of his career simply trying to blend in. He deferred to some of his older, more experienced Vikings teammates, like Everson Griffen, at seemingly every turn, trying to find where he belonged in the defense.
"Honestly, it's kind of a different turn that there aren't really many older guys," Odenigbo said during a videoconference. "Just this new type of cohesion. I think what's most important is we're getting better each week and we're becoming more complementary with how we play with each other and feed off each other."
Odenigbo added that he's "trying to figure out my niche" and "getting more confident … and speaking more and more."
On Griffen's move from 'Big D' to Detroit
Speaking of Griffen, the former Vikings Pro Bowler who spent his first 10 pro seasons in Minnesota is back in the NFC North.
Griffen signed with a Dallas team that has surrendered a league-worst 243 points and opened 2020 with a 2-5 showing. He recorded 2.5 sacks for the Cowboys while playing in a rotational role.
It appeared that Griffen would be on track to play his first game against the Vikings in Week 11, but that now will be accelerated to Week 9 when the Lions visit U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Cowboys status led "Big D" to send Griffen to Detroit, which is 3-3.
Matthew Coller of Purple Insider noted the trade that involved the Lions sending a conditional sixth-round selection to the Cowboys. Coller analyzed the trade and its potential impact.
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the Lions were interested considering that in 19 career games versus Detroit, Griffen has 16 sacks. There can't be too many happier people on the planet to have Griffen on their side than Detroit QB Matthew Stafford.
Griffen will join a squad that includes former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and safety Jayron Kearse. Having matched last season's win total, the Lions are now looking to make a run at an expanded playoff field. Green Bay (5-1) is the top seed in the NFC as of now, and Chicago (5-2) would be a Wild Card team.
Detroit won in bizarre fashion over Atlanta last week to bring their record to 3-3 but Football Outsiders 23.3% chance of making the postseason. However, Chicago's struggles on offense against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football and the low, low price for Griffen's services may have played a role in convincing Detroit to make a move for the veteran pass rusher.
The Voyage delivers unprecedented access to fans, who will be able to step inside the office of Head Coach Mike Zimmer and have an insider's look and listen during his talks with the team. Viewers also will hear directly from current Vikings players who will be writing outcomes of games through their play on the field.