Former Minnesota Defensive Lineman Kenechi Udeze Returns to the Vikings
Kenechi Udeze entered the NFL as a first round draft pick for the Minnesota Vikings in 2004, showing promise on the defensive line before his career was ended in 2007 due to a battle with lymphoblastic leukemia. After a successful fight with cancer, Udeze has found himself back in the NFL and entering a new era with his old team.
Udeze, who recently turned 30, wants to get into the world of coaching after the premature end to his playing career. He has been working with the University of Washington as an assistant coach, and spend last season interning with the Seattle Seahawks under his former college coach Pete Carroll.
This year, Udeze will spend some time with the Vikings coaching staff working in a similar role to that of the one he served with the Seahawks. He says he is grateful to be around the game he loves, telling the Pioneer Press:
It always and forever will be my passion and something that I’ll never lose sight of. But coming up on my five-year anniversary here in July, I have a lot to be thankful for.
Coach Frazier is happy to have Udeze back with the team as well. Frazier was in the role of Defensive Coordinator for the Vikings when Udeze was battling cancer and forced away from his career. He shared the following with the Associated Press, remembering visiting Udeze in the hospital:
Every time I see him, I’m just amazed. It’s almost like seeing a walking miracle, because at that time, when I was visiting him in the hospital, it was a concern about whether or not he survived much longer.