Minnesota Vikings using leadership as example for young and new players: Our journey through the numerical history of the Minnesota Vikings continues, and we’re on to the number 95. I’ve gotta be honest with you, folks. . .this one is about as nondescript as it gets. The #95 really hasn’t featured all that prominently in the history of this team, with only two players really having done anything for the team while wearing it.
The first is defensive end Fernando Smith, who wore the number for the team from 1994 to 1997. A second-round pick out of Jackson State, Smith had one pretty good season for the Vikings, putting up 9.5 sacks in 1996. That was one of the two seasons that he was the starter at left defensive end for the Vikings NFL. After his four seasons with Minnesota, he bounced around the league a bit, making stops in Jacksonville, Baltimore, and St. Louis before making his way out of the league.
Minnesota Vikings using leadership as example for young and new players
The second #95 that had an impact on the team was defensive end Kenechi Udeze. Selected with the 20th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft out of USC, Udeze was expected to bolster a pass rush that sorely needed it. After a solid rookie season, he missed much of 2005 with an injury and was held without a sack in 2006 despite starting every game. After the 2007 season, he was diagnosed with leukemia which forced him to miss all of 2008. He attempted a comeback in 2009, but he decided he wasn’t going to get back to what he had been before his illness, and he announced his retirement.
Putting together a high-quality team in today’s National Football League can be a huge challenge, but the Minnesota Vikings veteran and experienced players want to be sure that everyone on the roster has the best chance possible.
In a cutthroat league where each player is itching to take the spot of another or earn more playing time, the mentality with the Vikings is a bit different. While the competition is definitely still there, the players realize that working together and helping out can make everyone better.
Recently, the official website of the Minnesota Vikings shared an article with an interview featuring defensive tackle Tom Johnson discussing the mentality of the team this offseason and the desire to continually get better.