News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

Martial Arts Experience Helps Andrew Sendejo Focus on Field

Andrew Sendejo isn't going to sit around and relax this weekend before the Vikings begin a mandatory minicamp next week.

No, the Vikings safety with the diverse background is going to be a bit more adventurous.

In a recent article by Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune, Sendejo said he will descend down the fourth-tallest building in Austin, Texas, for a Make-A-Wish fundraiser.

Sendejo talked to Gonzalez about his diverse background, which includes honing his mental focus while participating in martial arts as a child. Sendejo said he no longer owns ninja-type clothing or accessories such as nunchucks.

"I learned at a very young age about discipline and having a really good attitude and paying attention to the details," Sendejo said, "and it just so happens that football is made up of a lot of all these small little details."

Sendejo, at age 8, was required to write a 200-word essay to earn his red belt. He started the task by asking his parents what an essay was. His progress impressed instructors and he began touring with a demo team.

He excelled at Kata, the choreographed pattern of movements from various martial arts, though he preferred the more physical sparring competition. His favorite move was three to four kicks to the belt, then a high kick to the face. "That one worked every time," he said.

The trophies Sendejo brought home were bigger than he was and, by 9, he reached the ceiling for junior martial arts with a third-degree red belt.

On the field, Sendejo has been a standout special teams player who became the starter alongside Harrison Smith last season. Sendejo finished second on the Vikings with 100 tackles in starting 13 games in 2015.

Smith, who has built a strong friendship with Sendejo over the past several years, said it's not hard to notice Sendejo's discipline.

"He's regimented, and that has continued throughout his life," Smith said. "He always knows his assignments. … He rarely makes mistakes. That's how he always was, and I think last year he kind of got his opportunity and just got better and better."

Smith, Barr land on's Top 100 lists

NFL Network continued to reveal its "Top 100 Players of 2016" on Wednesday night with players 41-50.

And although no Vikings were listed, a group of writers at are doing their own list, and a pair of Vikings appeared on two separate lists.

Writer Chris Wesseling listed Smith as his 48th-best player in the league.

Wesseling wrote:

If Earl Thomas is the premier safety of his generation, Harrison Smith might be next on the list. A do-it-all safety, Smith can cover, stop the run and blitz effectively.

The 27-year-old Smith is the only NFL player since 2012 with 300-plus tackles (311), 5-plus sacks (5.5), 10-plus interceptions (12) and four interception returns for touchdowns.

Former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew had Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr at No. 50 on his list, one of three linebackers mentioned.

Here's what Jones-Drew said about Barr:

Anthony Barr has size, speed and can rush the passer — he has proven to be a versatile threat for the Vikings.

Barr made the Pro Bowl last season after racking up 80 total tackles and 3.5 sacks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.