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Lunchbreak: Odenigbo Tabbed as Vikings Top 'Homegrown Player'

Ask any general manager around the league and they will likely say the key to building a strong roster is drafting players and then developing them.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman is fond of that method, as is Gregg Rosenthal of

Rosenthal recently took a look at each roster in the NFC and looked for the top homegrown player, meaning someone "who could make an enormous difference by taking the next step in their development."

Rosenthal went with Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, who is entering his fourth season in the league.

View the top photos of Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo from the 2019 season.

Rosenthal wrote:

Minnesota's defensive end position was among the league's best in the last decade, with stellar production from Jared Allen to Everson Griffen to Danielle Hunter. Is Odenigbo up next? A fourth-year, seventh-round pick who has been cut by three different teams, Odenigbo doesn't have the profile of a premier player.

But he sure looked like one on the field down the stretch, recording 7.0 sacks and 27 pressures in under 400 snaps. The Vikings don't have much depth behind him, so the team is betting big on Odenigbo to deliver.

Odenigbo met with the Twin Cities media on a Zoom call almost a month ago and was asked if he will be the starter opposite Hunter in 2020. He said he is "taking that approach."

Griffen, who voided his contract earlier this offseason, remains unsigned as a free agent.

Odenigbo played 368 total defensive snaps in 2019 as a situational pass rusher, but he made the most of it with a career-high 7.0 sacks, which ranked third on the team.

He was used more in the final month of the season, playing at least 30 snaps in each game from Weeks 14-17. Odenigbo, who recorded three sacks in the final three games of the season, didn't hit the 30-snap mark in the first 12 games of the season.

A Vikings 2017 seventh-round draft pick, Odenigbo endured a winding road before his strong 2019 season. He was on Minnesota's practice squad for his entire rookie season and did not make the 2018 roster out of training camp.

He spent parts of the 2018 season with Cleveland and Arizona before linking back up with the Vikings on Oct. 31 of that season. He made the 53-man roster out of training camp in 2019 and then produced his best season in a limited role.

While Rosenthal's pick for Minnesota was a seventh-round pick, his selections for the other three NFC North teams were all first-rounders.

Rosenthal tabbed Bears linebacker Raquon Smith [eighth overall pick in 2018], Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson [eighth overall pick in 2019] and Packers safety Darnell Savage, Jr., [21st overall pick in 2019] as players he expects to take a jump in 2020.

Smith, Jr., to take part in 'Bama Legends Live' event

There's no doubt that Alabama is one of the most successful programs in the history of college football.

Players such as Irv Smith, Jr., helped continue the winning tradition. The Vikings tight end helped the Crimson Tide to back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff National Championship game in January of 2018 and 2019, with Alabama getting a win in 2018.

Smith and his notable former college teammates are now linking up to raise money for various causes as part of a in 'Bama Legends Live' event.

Smith is one of eight former Alabama stars who will host a virtual video chat with fans on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT). Tickets can be purchased for a group chat, or a VIP 1-on-1 interaction with each player.

The funds raised will go toward the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Remain to Reach Foundation.

The latter foundation was created by Bears safety Eddie Jackson and "aims to inspire and provide resources to at-risk youth who have found themselves in trouble with the law at a young age," according to the foundation's website.

Jackson will be among the eight players involved, as will Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake and Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

More information on the event can be found here.