Minnesota Vikings: 5 best rookie seasons of the Mike Zimmer era

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

No. 2 – Eric Kendricks (LB, 2015)

A college roommate to No. 4 on this list, Anthony Barr–Eric Kendricks joined the Minnesota Vikings out of UCLA in 2015 as a second-round selection. Similar to his roommate, Kendricks saw on-field action immediately. He would ultimately start eleven games in 2015 while participating in seventy-one percent of all defensive snaps.

Kendricks and the Vikings defense finished fifth in points allowed in 2019 (18.9 points per game allowed). The team won the NFC North for the first time in six years and hosted a playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium that ended with a macabre finish.

All told, Kendricks finished with ninety-two total tackles (fourth among NFL rookies in 2015), four sacks, eight tackles for loss, and eight quarterback hits. At the time, Kendricks’ tackle output was the most by a Vikings rookie linebacker since Chad Greenway in 2007.

Kendricks would extend his contract with Vikings three seasons later keeping him with the purple and gold through the 2023 NFL season.