3 Vikings players who could be released ahead of time in 2022

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Eric Kendricks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Kendricks /

Eric Kendricks – LB

  • 2022 cap saving: $7.57 million

If the Vikings opt to cut ties with Mike Zimmer this offseason, then some veteran players could also find themselves on the chopping block no matter their status within the organization. This occurs plenty across the league when a new head coach comes in and the franchise needs to decide pretty quickly who’s going to lead them so a plan can be put into place.

Much like the situation with Danielle Hunter, there is no disputing Eric Kendricks‘ importance to the Vikings. The All-Pro linebacker is a top performer and has been almost from the moment he arrived as a second-round pick out of UCLA, but the $7.57 million Minnesota would save with an early release could make all the difference if those in power decided to bring in a new era.

Kendricks is the heart and soul on defense, with his production and leadership still extremely important. However, everyone knows the NFL is a business, and the prospect of extra resources could outweigh his influence – especially if the Vikings choose to end Zimmer’s long-standing reign.

Trading the player is another option that should be explored before examining the benefits of releasing Kendricks. Sideline to sideline linebackers who can impact on all three downs are hard to find in the NFL, so it would be a shock if one or two suitors weren’t found for the 29-year-old.

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This would be a last resort, one suspects. But it’s hard to look at Minnesota’s current financial situation and not think a shock or two won’t be coming during the offseason.