Minnesota Vikings wisely extend Eric Kendricks for 5 more years

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /

Eric Kendricks proved himself to be a valuable part of the Minnesota Vikings defense and the team rewarded the linebacker with a 5-year contract extension.

Even though the Minnesota Vikings are in a position where they need to do what they can to win games now, they aren’t going to jeopardize their future by allowing their homegrown talent to leave in free agency.

Eric Kendricks was a second-round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, he’s shown a ton of athleticism and solid tackling at the linebacker position, making him a valuable part of the team’s stellar defense.

Scheduled to become a free agent following the 2018 NFL season, Minnesota didn’t want to gamble with waiting to lock down a key piece of their franchise and signed Kendricks to a 5-year contract extension according to Adam Schefter on Twitter.

At first glance, $50 million seems like a lot of money, but spread out over five years and with a guarantee that wouldn’t be too dangerous to the team’s salary cap, this could be one of the best contracts general manager Rick Spielman has been able to get done recently.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

There is little doubt that Kendricks would be among the top-paid interior linebackers in the NFL if he hit free agency. That means he could be making somewhere around the $12.4 million Luke Kuechly makes per season.

Plus, it puts the Vikings defender right in line with players like Alec Ogletree and Christian Kirksey in terms of annual salary, a place he deserves to be based on his efforts on the field.

According to Pro Football Reference, Kendricks has accumulated 209 tackles and 7.5 sacks in his 45 games played while intercepting two passes and both recovering and forcing a fumble.

Kendricks has a small frame for a middle linebacker but makes up for his size with great athleticism and speed to fit perfectly into what head coach Mike Zimmer does with his defense to keep opposing offenses guessing as to what players will do at each position.

The heart of the Vikings defense is set to be around for a long time since Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen, and Linval Joseph are all set to be around until 2023 with Harrison Smith locked down until 2022.

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This contract extension also takes some weight off the shoulders of the Minnesota Vikings. They will still have to do something with the contracts of Stefon Diggs, Danielle HunterAnthony Barr, and others, but locking down Eric Kendricks was definitely a step in the right direction for the franchise.