Notebook: Udeze, MMA and more

Brad Childress

Vikings coach Brad Childress had a number of interesting team nuggets Thursday night while celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Vikings Children's Fund.

While celebrating the Vikings Children's Fund's 30th year partnering with the University of Minnesota's Department of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital, the topic of leukemia came up while the university president Robert Bruininks addressed the crowd of supporters, doctors, Vikings executives and media.

The university was also marking the 40th anniversary of its first bone marrow transplant for leukemia, a procedure that Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze underwent on July 16 after his brother Thomas Barnes was determined to be a 100 percent match.

Udeze spoke to a crowd of middle schoolers in Chaska on Jan. 26 to promote a fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and said afterwards that he plans to be with his teammates working out when the Vikings return to practice for OTAs (organized team activities) in early April.

Right now, Udeze is back at the University of Southern California finishing up his degree and working out with current and former Trojans teammates.

"No excuses, get it done. That's always been my motto," Udeze said last month. "The guys back at home, they work out good enough to where I can gauge myself to where I know if I'm going to make it back next year and I know I am."

At Thursday evening's event, Childress didn't doubt Udeze.

"Nothing he does will surprise me, but I expect him to be back and be there for the first day of OTAs because that's what he's expecting," Childress said.

"He's in a great environment in terms of offseason conditioning right now and the family's out there with him and that's going good. He said he's feeling good."

Several times during an extended interview (more of which will be published in the next issue of the Viking Update magazine), Udeze was resolute in his comeback.

"Once my team gets back together, I'll be in my jersey. … If I didn't feel it, I wouldn't be saying it. If something drastic happens, then that's that, but I can bounce back from this," he said.

THE MIXED MASTER?

During a recent interview with a New York radio station, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said that the Vikings were considering Mixed Martial Arts training for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson told the Pioneer Press he wasn't considering it, and on Thursday Childress said the MMA angle was "misrepresented."

"Obviously, Tarvaris doesn't have any plans to go to Arizona and train," Childress said.

Asked about the quarterback situation with the Vikings, Childress declined to get into specifics, but said, "We're still turning over things. … We go through the restructure, cuts, trades, we look at all that. I have not spoken to Tarvaris, nor have a spoken to Gus (Frerotte) yet."

NOTES

  • In late December, the Vikings signed linebacker Kenny Onatolu, formerly of the CFL, to a futures contract. Childress said he didn't know which linebacker position Onatolu would be working at, but he brings value to the special teams.

    "He's active. He's a premier special teams player as well. He played at Nebraska-Omaha. He's a good, active linebacker and excelled on their (CFL) field, which is obviously wider and longer than ours," Childress said.

  • Childress said the Vikings have promoted offensive assistant Chad O'Shea, who had been working mainly with wide receivers coach George Stewart, to assistant special teams coach. O'Shea will working under Brian Murphy, who was promoted from assistant special teams coach to special teams coordinator earlier this week after former coordinator Paul Ferraro left to take a defensive coaching position with the St. Louis Rams.

  • Childress was looking forward to getting his hands on some video of linebacker Heath Farwell and his wife from an appearance they made recently on the Suze Orman Show on CNBC. According to Childress, Farwell's wife wrote to Orman, who responded and invited them on the show, but apparently the Farwells didn't say much, although there is supposedly still an open line of communication between the financial expert and the Farwells.

  • Glazer reported Thursday even that the Kansas City Chiefs have offered their head coaching job to Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley and he has accepted. Contract terms are still being worked out, but that should end the speculation about Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier being a candidate for a head coaching job in the NFL for 2009. The Kansas City job was the last remaining vacancy in the league.

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