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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Udeze returns with added mobility

    Published August 04, 2006 03:34 am

    After a successful rookie season in 2004, defensive end Kenechi Udeze was out to prove in his sophomore season that his first year wasn’t a fluke. The only problem is, he had only three games to do so.

    [size=18px]Udeze returns with added mobility[/size]
    Defensive end comes into camp 25 pounds lighter


    By Chris Jagerson
    The Free Press

    MANKATO —

    After a successful rookie season in 2004, defensive end Kenechi Udeze was out to prove in his sophomore season that his first year wasn’t a fluke. The only problem is, he had only three games to do so.

    “I learned that I really need to take care of my body because I didn’t do that,” said Udeze, who missed the remainder of the 2005 season after having season-ending knee surgery. “I’ve taken in everything God has given me and put it on the field, and with everything that went down from my rookie year, I see myself making plays that I should be making this season.”

    Udeze was drafted out of USC with the 20th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft. He was a consensus All-American choice as a junior and tied for the NCAA lead with 16 1⁄2 sacks, which led him to declaring for the draft a year early. His rookie year with the Vikings was a productive one, leading the team with 21 quarterback hurries and finishing third on the team and tied for third amongst rookies with 5.0 sacks.

    Even with those sack totals, Udeze still sees himself as a run-first defensive end with his pass-rushing ability developing naturally.

    “I see myself emphasizing both but I’m one-dimensional toward the run,” Udeze said. “Because once you do that everything else takes care of themselves and in this day in age, you got to be able to do both.”

    Udeze’s sophomore season appeared to be a continuation of his first year, with Udeze tying his career high with six tackles in last season’s opener, and followed with his first sack of the season two weeks later against New Orleans before his injury. It was originally downplayed as fairly routine meniscus cartilage damage in his left knee that was only supposed to sideline him for about a month, but instead it cost him the rest of his season.

    “I didn’t do as much weight training,” Udeze said of his offseason recovery program. “Instead I focused on speed work, cord work and on my hips to become more flexible.”

    In addition, Udeze admitted to losing 25 pounds to increase his versatility in his third season with the Vikings.

    “I was playing too heavy,” Udeze said. “If you look back to recent successful defensive ends, they’ve all played under 275 pounds. Last year, I was at 275 to 300 pounds. At that weight you’re more of an absorber who takes up blockers. So I lost weight to be more efficient.”

    Udeze’s new defensive coordinator, Mike Tomlin, said that, from what he’s seen so far, the defensive end is near fully recovered from his injury.

    “I think he was pretty much recovered from that injury the day I met him,” Tomlin said. “He appears to be at full speed and I know that his motor runs extremely hot. You love for every man to chase the ball and play at the tempo that (Udeze) plays at. We’re excited about where he is.”

    Udeze figures to team with Erasmus James at defensive end to form one of the youngest defensive end combinations in the league.

    “There is added responsibility of playing defensive end in this scheme,” Tomlin said. “I think that’s been well documented and I think the guys are up to the challenge.”

    Add Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to the defensive front and it could be the makings of a line that could become one of the best in the NFL, or so says Udeze — if each man stays healthy and lives up to his potential.

    “We have high goals and we want to meet them because we came up short last year,” Udeze said. “If we put it together we could all reap the benefits of playing great team defense, whether that be four or five Pro Bowlers. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about individual achievements though, but collective team defense instead.”

    Udeze returns with added mobility

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    I don’t think anyone needs to worry about individual achievements though, but collective team defense instead.”


    I like his attitude.. He hit it right on the head with that statement..

  3. #3
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    We need bot him and Erasmus to be sack machines this year DE are key to the Tampa 2 D. I hope he lives up to the potential he has and him and Erasmus can be bookends for the next 10 years!
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  4. #4
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    I feel this is the season he breaks out....
    I ll be dead and cold before I m green and gold



    Thanks to PPE for sig

  5. #5
    canadian_vikes_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    Well, I've been speaking with my adopted son, and he says he's at 100% right now, and is ready to kick some ass this year.

    Seriously though, Udeze should really explode this year - most players take until about year 3 to develop into their potential, and from what I've seen of him, Udeze always had the talent to be a great end. Let's hope he can really put it together this year!

    Thanks PPE for the sig.

  6. #6
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    Both Udeze and 'Razmus' are gonna kick some passers arses this year.

  7. #7
    Tanner_QBRB8 is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    there is a lot of potential this year and i think that the vikes have one of the best if not the best D line in the NFL

  8. #8
    VikesfaninWis's Avatar
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    "whackthepack" wrote:
    We need bot him and Erasmus to be sack machines this year DE are key to the Tampa 2 D. I hope he lives up to the potential he has and him and Erasmus can be bookends for the next 10 years!

    I agree 100%.. Udeze, and James are going to be great DE for us for many years to come..

  9. #9
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    if our D-line can stay healthy one of the 2 ends will have a great season IMO
    The Trenches are where Games are Decided


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  10. #10
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    Re: Udeze returns with added mobility

    Combine this with our stacked secondary....... Man.... that's just sick..
    Trying to bring rationale to an irrational site

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