Vikings need to prepare for the future at linebacker
Before we can even assess the future of the defense, we need to look at the decline of the once-reliable group in the middle. Eric Kendricks will be 30-years-old heading into next season and it appears his age has caught up to him a bit in 2021.
While he is not a liability – in fact, he is still a very good linebacker – Kendricks is trending in the wrong direction. If you believe in PFF grades, Kendricks has been one of the worst linebackers in the league since Week 8.
Anthony Barr does improve the defense when he’s out there, but that mostly has to do with the fact that his replacements are nothing special. The Vikings simply cannot rely on Nick Vigil and Troy Dye to hold down the fort in Barr’s absence.
Vigil signed a one-year deal in 2021 and has been… fine. Minnesota should not be content with him returning in anything more than a depth role next season, but that’s a fine investment for what it’s worth.
Troy Dye and Blake Lynch have not shown any sort of ability to stop the run and their calling card of coverage has not turned into any benefit for the Vikings either. Chazz Surratt, who was an exciting selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, can’t even seem to make the active roster on a weekly basis.
It’s not that the Vikings haven’t tried to get depth. They just haven’t invested the right assets. They need to spend earlier draft picks or spend some big money in free agency to upgrade the position this offseason.