Vikings First Quarter Awards: Who are the team MVPs?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /

Defensive Player of the First Quarter

Eric Kendricks – LB

There might not be a better middle linebacker in the NFL than Eric Kendricks. Even after losing Anthony Barr for the season and with Ben Gedeon unable to play, Kendricks has been the highlight of the year for the Vikings on defense.

Kendricks has been a tackling machine for Minnesota through the first four weeks, accumulating a total of 45 takedowns. That tackle number is currently the best in the league, beating out New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez by two.

It isn’t just tackling that makes Kendricks an elite player. His ability to rush a quarterback or drop back in coverage raises his value even more and makes him a key part of Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme.

The Vikings linebacker has two pass breakups from backing into coverage and he has two stuffs at the line of scrimmage that set opposing offenses back three yards. Minnesota’s defense runs through Kendricks.