5 Vikings players who’ll benefit most from offseason changes in 2022

(Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Kendricks
(Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Kendricks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Kendricks /

Eric Kendricks -LB

Switching to a 3-4 defense under Ed Donatell is an intriguing element of the 2022 season that should be monitored closely. Expectations weren’t reached on the defensive side of things once again during the previous campaign and if this major change brings an upturn in production, then there is more than enough talent for this unit to become a force.

One player that stands to benefit most from this difference is Eric Kendricks. The All-Pro linebacker played some of his best football in 2021 en route to 143 tackles, five sacks, four passes, eight tackles for loss, two interceptions, and five quarterback hits, but he isn’t getting any younger and more assistance at the second-level will be a real asset.

Kendricks will pair up on the interior with Jordan Hicks, an eye-catching signing in free agency from the Arizona Cardinals who brings proven pedigree and outstanding production to Minnesota. If this duo hits it off right out of the gate, then they could end up becoming one of the most prolific linebacker tandems around when it’s all said and done.

Couple this with the presence of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darus Smith flying off the edge, and this has all the makings of an exceptional tandem. One that could significantly strengthen the Vikings’ hopes of postseason football for the first time in three years.

And who knows, it might even bring out even more from Kendricks along the way.