Vikings Sign LB Eric Kendricks To Contract Extension

Posted Apr 16, 2018

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings leading tackler over the past three seasons will be in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.

The team announced Monday that it has signed linebacker Eric Kendricks to a multi-year contract extension.

A second-round pick in 2015 (45th overall), Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in each of his first three seasons in Purple, tallying 367 total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) during that span.

Kendricks has upped his tackle total over the past three seasons, going from 105 in 2015 to 126 in 2016 to 136 this past season.

He also has 7.5 career sacks (5.5 of which have come against NFC North opponents), along with 30 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 16 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Kendricks also has a nose for the end zone, as he has returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns.

The first was a 77-yard score against Tennessee in the 2016 season opener. He also scored from 31 yards out against Cincinnati in Week 15 of the 2017 season at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

While the 26-year-old has yet to be named to a Pro Bowl, he is looked at as a vital heartbeat of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s defense thanks to his ability to stuff the run, cover running backs and tight ends in the passing game, and pressure the quarterback when needed.

His versatility allowed Minnesota to rank first in the NFL against opposing running backs’ production in the passing game in 2017.

A former standout at UCLA (Kendricks won the Butkus Award in 2014 as college football’s top linebacker), Kendricks was a special teams player for the first few games of his career. But he quickly made his way into the starting lineup as he recorded a Week 4 sack against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in his first career start.

Kendricks has been a mainstay in the Vikings defense ever since, helping the unit rank first in points, yards allowed and third-down defense during a historic 2017 season.

Kendricks has also given back to the Minnesota community, most notably by helping raise $20,000 during the 2016 season for The Sheridan Story, a local organization that aims to quell childhood hunger.

Kendricks, who made the presentation at Westview Elementary School in May of 2017, said then that he was simply trying to do his part to help the community around him. 

“My mom worked her butt off to keep food on the table for us and a roof over our head,” said Kendricks, who grew up in Fresno, Calif. “I can’t say I didn’t see (childhood hunger) in the neighborhood I grew up in.

“I understand that I needed help as a child and that I was given that help from all types of areas,” Kendricks added. “Whether it was family, friends, my teachers … I understand that it takes a village to raise a child. I want to help be that village.”