Udeze is confident he will be playing football again for the Vikings in 2009. The team placed him on the reserve/non-football injury (NFI) list this spring, meaning they were not obligated to pay him for this season.
The team, however, said it would pay Udeze his base salary of $807,500 for 2008 so he could concentrate on his recovery.
This was to have been the final season of the five-year contract Udeze signed with the Vikings in 2004 after the team made him its first-round pick. But under the rules of the NFLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Ã¢â‚¬Å“a player on NFI who is in the final year of his contract will have his contract tolled.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That means UdezeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s contract wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t run during the 2008 season and thus now will go through 2009.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that crazy?Ã¢â‚¬Â Udeze said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It will be good because you can work up your resume again, show everybody that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re healthy again.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Udeze also is thankful to the Vikings for guaranteeing his money for this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say anybody dealing with this, especially in my position being a professional athlete, they want to know where they stand,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel like IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been playing at a reasonable level but I never felt like IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve tipped the scales of what I can do. Nobody knows which way the organization is going to pull you or want you in the future or if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just kind of had enough with you.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just told myself with everyday that I go out there, everybody sees that I do the best I can. When I found out the news (of the Vikings guaranteeing his salary) I was kind of taken back by it.Ã¢â‚¬Â