5 most clutch Minnesota Vikings players on the 2020 roster

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
2 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /

Eric Kendricks – LB

As an anchor of the Vikings defense, All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks has been a virtuoso in the fourth quarters of games.

Kendricks joined Minnesota by the way of UCLA in 2015 and he has been a tackling apparatus since the jump. During the fourth quarter in the last five seasons, Kendricks has recorded 125 combined tackles. With that number, he is the sixth-most fourth-quarter prolific tackler in the NFL.

Of the top 20 tacklers in the fourth quarter since 2015, Kendricks also has seven pass breakups, and that tops the bunch. In the final period of games, the Vikings linebacker basically becomes a cornerback in terms of his pass breakup totals.

Darius Slay, for example, has eight pass breakups in the fourth quarter during the last five years, only one better than Kendricks.

Notably, Kendricks has shown up in big moments for pass breakups such as Minnesota’s Week 2 matchup of the 2018 season against the Green Bay Packers. He had a clutch pass breakup while covering Packers wideout Davante Adams and then he did the same while covering Green Bay running back Aaron Jones at Lambeau Field last year in the fourth quarter.

More of the same for Kendricks took place in 2019 at Detroit on J.D. McKissic, at Dallas on Ezekiel Elliott, and at home versus Denver on Troy Fumagalli–all in the fourth quarter.