NFL veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks will sign a new contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. After spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, Kendricks announced via Instagram Monday he is heading out west.
LB Eric Kendricks to sign with Chargers. (via @RapSheet) pic.twitter.com/GCbpBl6LKE
— NFL (@NFL) March 14, 2023
Eric Kendricks, Los Angeles Chargers, Agree to Contract
Prior to the start of free agency, the Vikings cut longtime defensive leader Eric Kendricks in a salary cap-saving move. Saving the team $9.5 million on the move, Kendricks will now be 31 years old entering 2023. This past year marked the first season Kendricks was fully healthy since 2017. In his 17 starts, he totaled 137 tackles, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and six pass deflections. Now, both the Vikings and Kendricks look for a fresh start.
For the past seven years, Kendricks has had at least 100 total tackles per season, proving his value in the middle of the defense. While his efficiency in coverage has steadily dropped, he remains a force against the run. After all, Kendricks has been a tackle machine his entire career.
Between 2020 and 2021, he even had five interceptions to his name, as well as five sacks. Eric Kendricks’ most notable campaign came in 2019 when he earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. In 15 starts, he had 110 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and a career-high 12 pass deflections.
In his first four seasons in the NFL, Kendricks started 55 of 58 games. During that time, he accumulated 422 total tackles, 19 pass deflections, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Playing on multiple elite Vikings defensive units, Minnesota’s defense would be completely different over the past decade without Kendricks’ presence.
At 6’0″ and 230 pounds, there were questions about his size in the league. Nevertheless, the Vikings made the call to select Eric Kendricks 45th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft out of UCLA. Clearly, the Vikings thought his production of 481 tackles in 52 collegiate games would translate.
Main Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports