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Kenechi Udeze back with the Vikings

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Former Vikings first-round draft pick Kenechi Udeze is back with the team as a coaching intern.

Udeze was a prized defensive end from the University of Southern California, but just four years into his NFL career he was forced to retire after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

He attempted a comeback in 2009 but nerve damage in his feet sustained from a bone marrow transplant was too much to overcome.

At 30-years old, Udeze wants to become a coach.

"I'm not saying football was never important," Udeze told 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."

Head coach Leslie Frazier was the Vikings' defensive coordinator when Udeze played, and he tells the Associated Press that he can remember visiting Udeze in the hospital.

"Every time I see him, I'm just amazed," Frazier said. "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."

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