No. 1 – Eric Kendricks (5 years / $50 million)
Any time a team has an All-Pro anything for $10 million or less per season, it is a steal of a deal (outside of maybe special teams specialists).
That is precisely what the Minnesota Vikings have with Eric Kendricks. The fifth-year linebacker from UCLA became the first Vikings linebacker since 1980 to bring home the All-Pro bacon last season. In 1980, Matt Blair was selected to First-Team All-Pro.
Heading into 2020, Kendricks is the 22nd-highest paid linebacker in the NFL (this technically includes linebackers like Von Miller and Dee Ford but they are known to line up as EDGE rushers).
The Vikings penned Kendricks to an extension in the spring of 2018 at a point where he had not quite blossomed into the mercenary he is currently. From a budget perspective, the purple and gold are getting a colossal return on investment.
Contextually, Kendricks has the most tackles per game (7.1) of any Vikings player in the last 20 years. This outranks notables such as Chad Greenway, Harrison Smith, E.J. Henderson, and Antoine Winfield.
And heck, Kendricks is not even the most expensive linebacker on the Vikings. That’s Anthony Barr.