Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr
Kendricks and Barr are the two names that are set in stone when it comes to the Vikings’ base defense. While neither player is particularly flashy, they get the job done and can turn things up a notch when they need to.
Kendricks has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league and was rewarded with a five-year, $50 million extension earlier this offseason. As one of the leaders of the defense, he’ll look to continue manning the middle and help Minnesota maintain a unit that was the NFL’s second-best in rushing yards allowed behind the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
Barr’s case is a little bit murkier. While he has the reputation of being an impact player on the field, his stats don’t back that up.
Last year, the UCLA product notched just one sack on the season, but also scored the biggest hit of the year when he broke the collarbone of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Barr spent most of his offseason hoping for a new deal, but nothing seems imminent. It remains to be seen whether the thoughts of trying to get a new deal will be a distraction or motivation once the season starts.