The Indianapolis Colts shockingly lost to the Minnesota Vikings last weekend, and four days later, the Colts waived a former Vikings starter.
He’s Ifeadi Odenigbo, a man who will now presumably hit the open market after playing 13 of the Colts 14 games this season.
And perhaps the weirdest part about the transaction involves Odenigbo’s performance against the Vikings. Pitted against his old teammates, Odenigbo notched 2 total tackles, a blocked punt, and a sack — often called a Pro Bowl-like day in some circles. The production was Odenigbo’s best of the season, though, as the Northwestern alumnus has a Pro Football Focus grade of 49.9 in 2022, which is more in line with that of a player who’d be on the chopping block. Still, the timing is strange.
Odenigbo, 28, has played for the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Vikings, and Colts. He will likely latch onto a team before the regular season ends on January 8th.
Out of Nowhere, Colts Waive Former Vikings Starter
The Vikings had an off-and-on relationship with Odenigbo as a younger man, welcoming the defender to the team in 2017. Soon after, though, he underwent a series of releases and signings, compiling a topsy-turvy resume of transactions.
But Odenigbo’s career in Minnesota ceased after the 2020 season, as the Vikings utilized D.J. Wonnum for their “Ifeadi role” in 2021. That season, Odenigbo signed with the aforementioned Browns, probably a nod to his ties with Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski, who ran the Vikings offense in 2019 before taking the big job in Ohio.
Odenigbo made a splash for the Vikings in the 2019 season, posting 7 sacks in an unsung manner. He played all 16 games for the 2019 Vikings — the last purple and gold team to post a winning record before 2022 — while starting none of the games. Most notably, Odenigbo scored a defensive touchdown in a rout of the Los Angeles Chargers down the stretch of the 2019 season.
Because Odenigbo performed well in 2019, he got the gig as a starting EDGE rusher for the 2020 Vikings after Minnesota lost Danielle Hunter, the starter, to a neck injury. In 15 starts that season, Odenigbo tallied only 3.5 sacks, a meager figure for a starting EDGE rusher who played almost 70% of defensive snaps.
So, the Vikings wrapped up the Odenigbo experience, leading the defender to Cleveland. With the Browns last season, he posted a 49.6 grade from Pro Football Focus, making an underwhelming case for retention with the Browns front office. Then, Odenigbo landed with the Colts six months ago and stayed for 82% of the season.
Odenigbo has registered 84 total tackles, 37 QB hits, 14 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and of course, the blocked punt on Saturday in 54 career games.
The Vikings win over the Colts in Week 15 all but ended Indianapolis’ season. The Colts have a 0.2% chance of reaching the postseason, which as close to mathematical elimination as a team can be. Minnesota, on the other hand, clinched the NFC North for the first time since 2017 and will host at least one home playoff game in January.
Odenigbo will turn 29 in April.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).