Midseason grades for the 2019 Minnesota Vikings defense

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /

Grading the Linebackers

One year ago, the linebackers in the Vikings defense had issues playing up to their potential. So far in 2019, both Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks have been hell-bent on changing that and they’re turning in career seasons as a result.

The flashier name in this scenario has been Barr, who memorably decided to sign with the New York Jets before reversing course and returning to Minnesota this past offseason. That decision has paid off huge from the opening snap of the season.

While Barr hasn’t matched his absurd 13.8 PRP rating from a year ago (7.7 this season), Barr has been in the right place at the right time and he’s well on pace to shatter his 55 total tackles from 2018.

While Barr gets the headlines, Kendricks has been even more productive. One year after having fans wondering if he’d lost a step, the former UCLA Bruin has come back with a vengeance, grading out as PFF’s third-best linebacker.

While that does nothing for his head coach, Kendricks has thrived in PRP (18.8, second among linebackers), tackling efficiency (15.4 attempts per missed tackle, ninth) and coverage snaps per reception.

With Eric Wilson and Ben Gedeon also being key contributors, the Vikings have had a revival at the linebacker position this season.

Kendricks Grade: A

Barr Grade: B+