Budding Vikings Star Lands On COVID-19 Reserve List: Report

Ifeadi Odenigbo

Getty Ifeadi Odenigbo is the only guaranteed option as an edge rusher beyond Danielle Hunter.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo was one of three Vikings players on Wednesday added to a growing list of players who are on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Odenigbo, offensive lineman Oli Udoh and linebacker Cameron Smith were all added to the list after the Vikings placed four rookies, including first-round pick Justin Jefferson, on the list on Monday, totaling seven players who are currently on the list. Odenigbo was recently named the top player on ESPN’s top 25 prospects list.

The new reserve list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined after they were in close contact with an infected party, per a statement the Vikings issued. Vikings Infection Control Officer and lead trainer Eric Sugarman tested positive for the coronavirus over the weekend after 40 or more players had visited the team’s practice facilities this past week in Eagan, Minn.

The Vikings cannot disclose the details of whether a player is infected or not, per an NFL and NFLPA agreement,  but a team official said that all four rookies had not been in contact with Sugarman, Pioneer Press beat reporter Chris Tomasson said.

It’s unclear whether Odenigbo arrived at training camp last week or on Tuesday with the rest of the team’s veterans. According to the Star Tribune’s Andrew Krammer, if a player tests positive, they could miss a minimum of five days (asymptomatic, two negative results) or 10 days with symptoms. Players on the list could return to the Vikings training facilities in 24 hours if they were only placed on the list for contact tracing.

Odenigbo is projected to start at defensive end along with Danielle Hunter after a stellar sophomore season. He tallied seven sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble return TD while playing 41 percent or fewer defensive snaps in 13 games last year.

Tomasson said a source close to Odenigbo “declined to provide specifics but said, ‘he’ll definitely be OK‘.”

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Future Prospects

Although it is a setback, the players listed will likely not going to miss any time so long as they don’t suffer harsh symptoms from the virus. It’s also a possibility they’re simply put on the list as a precaution.

Odenigbo looks poised to step into a full-time starting role after last season, while Udoh is also a candidate to jump into the offensive line in his second year. Smith was a practice squad player who’s likely the most impacted if he misses time as the second-year linebacker is hoping to make a case for a spot on the final 53-man roster.

The first scheduled full-padded practice is Aug. 17, which is when the Vikings will have to cut down their roster to 80 players. The Vikings brought 87 players into training camp, but after defensive tackle Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season and the additions to the reserve list, the roster currently sits at 79 players.

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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.

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