View the best images of LB Eric Kendricks from the 2016 season.
It's often interesting to see how a player progresses from year one to year two in the NFL.
In a recent article assessing second-year players, Harley Sherman of Pro Football Focus created a ranking of the 10 most improved across the league. Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks made the list at No. 6. Pro Football Focus in 2015 gave Kendricks an overall grade of 48.3; after his performance in 2016, Kendricks received a grade of 80.3. Sherman wrote:
Much like [Packers linebacker] Jake Ryan, Kendricks' strong sophomore season was centered on his much-improved pass-coverage skills, which was his strength as a prospect coming out of UCLA. He allowed an average of 8.9 yards per catch and a passer rating of 85.3, compared to figures of 11.6 yards and a 110.8 rating in his rookie year. He also emerged as a more effective playmaker, increasing his 2015 tally of two pass defenses to six in 2016, as well as ranking seventh among inside linebackers with a run-stop percentage of 10.2. Vikings fans should be encouraged by his year-on-year grade improvement from 48.3 to 80.3, and will hope for another step forward in year three.
Coming in first, second and third, respectively were Bills guard John Miller, Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins and Ryan. The Super-Bowl-champion Patriots had two names on the list: guard Shaq Mason (No. 5) and cornerback Eric Rowe (No. 8).
2017 draft class offers depth at multiple positions, including RB
The Vikings on Tuesday announced they will not exercise the 2017 option on Adrian Peterson's contract, meaning the running back is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
ESPN's Ben Goessling said that if Peterson doesn't end up re-signing in Minnesota, the upcoming draft class does offer a deep running back class for observation. Goessling wrote:
General Manager Rick Spielman said in a Tuesday statement the Vikings will "leave our future options open" with regard to Peterson. It's possible the team could still bring him back, either on a restructured deal before the league year begins on March 9 or with a new contract after Peterson is able to test the market.
Depending on what shakes out, Goessling highlighted a number of running back names that will be of interest to NFL teams this year. He opined that two players currently slated as the top of the position group – LSU's Leonard Fournette and Florida State's Dalvin Cook – will likely go in the first round.
But in the right draft scenario, players such as Tennessee's Alvin Kamara, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey or Texas' D'Onta Foreman could be there for the Vikings with the 46th or 47th pick. Players such as Clemson's Wayne Gallman or Oklahoma's Samaje Perine could also be interesting options, with N.C. State's Matthew Dayes or Toledo's Kareem Hunt available later.