The Minnesota Vikings re-signed Eric Kendricks to a five-year, $50 million deal on Monday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The contract reportedly includes $25 million of guaranteed money. Prior to the extension, Kendricks only had one year left on his rookie contract.
What the Vikings are Getting
After being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft, Kendricks made an immediate impact on Mike Zimmer’s defense. The former UCLA Bruin has led the Vikings in tackles in every year he’s been in the league.
Kendricks displays all of the traits needed to be a dominant linebacker and is one of the NFL’s best up-and-coming defensive players. He shows exceptional speed and awareness, allowing him to fly towards the ball carrier. He is also underrated is pass coverage and had a 31-yard pick-six last year against the Cincinnati Bengals.
With the deal, Kendricks will be able to play with fellow defensive stars Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, and Linval Joseph for years to come.
With Kendricks locked up, general manager Rick Spielman can now focus on re-signing Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. This should be no easy feat, as Kirk Cousins’ massive deal has the Vikings playing a game of cap space limbo.
Hunter and Diggs are both playing on the final year of their rookie contracts and are due for an extension soon. Barr is also due to be a free agent in 2019, since he is playing on his fifth-year option.
Barr, Kendricks’ college teammate, is likely to be the next Viking to see a big payday. After seeing limited playing time as a rookie, Anthony Barr has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons. He and Kendricks have become the centerpieces of Mike Zimmer’s defense, and now they’re about to be paid like it.
Featured image from si.com
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