4 Vikings players that must step up after their 2022 bye week

(Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports) Camryn Bynum
(Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports) Camryn Bynum /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) Eric Kendricks /

Eric Kendricks – LB

Of all the players on this list, Eric Kendricks is the one fans should be least worried about. The All-Pro linebacker has been the beating heart on defense for the Minnesota Vikings since he was taken in the first round, but father time waits for no man and there could be some chinks developing in his armor as a result.

Kendricks is still communicating well at the second level and coming up with big plays. However, there have been times of struggle that cannot be ignored if the Vikings want to make a deep postseason run.

Perhaps transitioning to a 3-4 defense after spending his career as a 4-3 middle linebacker is another reason behind Kendricks’ slight regression. But his consistency in coverage cannot mask the 9.3 percent of all tackles missed at this juncture.

The former UCLA star is experienced enough to know things have to get better. Something that’s further reflected in Kendricks’ less-than-stellar 56.5 grade from Pro Football Focus through the opening six games.

One could make a strong case for Jordan Hicks outperforming Kendricks so far. However, it would be a huge disappointment if the team leader didn’t drastically take strides forward sooner rather than later.

light. Related Story. 4 problems the Minnesota Vikings must fix during 2022 bye week