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Purple Pups: Basil Kendricks

Chances are, you'll hear Basil before you see her.

By the time Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks walks her from his upper-level apartment down to the sidewalk, Basil knows she's on her way to the park. The charcoal-colored French Bulldog's signature, raspy snort is in a way endearing, announcing her presence in advance of prancing around the corner.

"Her nickname is Princess Basil," Kendricks says with a laugh. "Because she's a queen. A diva."

Basil wears a bright-pink harness that crosses over her proportionally broad chest. She pulls against it with each step the duo takes to reach the open grass that signals playtime.

Kendricks reaches down to unclip the leash, and Basil is free. She bounces through the green, stopping briefly to press her flat nose against the ground and sniff each intriguing scent. She keeps an eye on her owner but isn't afraid to wander and play, attacking twigs that have snapped off from nearby trees.

Kendricks finds a moderate-sized branch lying nearby and tosses it to Basil, who clamps onto an end and drags a line through the dirt with the cumbersome stick. Over and over again she abandons the challenge, runs a straight line out and back and then returns to wrestle the branch.

After 15 minutes or so, Kendricks calls her over to a nearby bench and motions for her to take a rest.

"My favorite thing, it's like a two-headed [monster], honestly. She goes so hard," Kendricks says above the sound of Basil's labored breathing. "Anybody who knows her and is around her, she has no stop to her. I guess she probably gets that a little bit from me.

"It's also the worst thing about her, as well," he quips. "Because when you want her to chill and relax, she's usually turned up. But I love it."

View photos of Vikings LB Eric Kendricks and his dog Basil who are featured in Purple Pups.

Kendricks and his girlfriend, Ally, bought Basil as a puppy nearly two years ago.

The linebacker remembers playing with his uncle's English bulldogs as a child and falling in love with the breed. But when it came time for to get his own, Kendricks opted for a French bulldog due to the lesser size but similar demeanor.

Both being cuisine connoisseurs, Kendricks and Ally brainstormed about a food-related name for their new puppy.

"We were thinking about all types of food that we could name her," Kendricks explained. "And then we started going into spices – salt, pepper – and then we [listed] things like oregano, then basil, and then it was like, 'Ohh, that kinda sounds good.' "

The name stuck.

Basil is a big part of life for Kendricks, who is a proud dog dad – just ask any one of his 119,000 Instagram followers.

He especially appreciates the little behaviors that make Basil, Basil. The way she is scared of the vacuum cleaner but will lunge after it when Kendricks pretends to be threatened by the appliance. Or the way she stretches out, back legs straight out behind her, and flattens into a sun-soaked spot on the floor.

"Her attitude, man. Her attitude is just through the roof. I can't explain it," Kendricks says. "When she wants to listen, she's going to listen to you. But if she doesn't want to listen, she doesn't hear a word. It doesn't matter what you say."

What's the worst thing that Basil has ever done when not in the mood to listen?

Kendricks doesn't have to ponder the question for long before launching into a story about an afternoon with Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo. At the time, Odenigbo's dog, a Goldendoodle named Macy, was still a puppy and smaller than Basil.

"Basil was just kind of being aggressive, and we separated them and put Macy on the couch, and we told Basil she couldn't come on the couch: 'No, Basil. No.' She didn't like that," Kendricks recalls. "She didn't like that we were telling her, 'No.' She walked out in front of us and just stared at us, stared at us in right our eyes, and she just took a fat poop right on the floor.

"And then as soon as I stood up, like as she was pooping, she just took off around the corner," he continues, reenacting his reactionary jump from the sofa. "So we knew it was just completely intentional. She was just upset that she couldn't go on the couch."

Play dates with other dogs are at the top of Basil's list.

"Some of her best friends are the other dogs on the team," Kendricks says, mentioning Macy in addition to Harrison Smith's chocolate Lab, Deuce.

"I first brought Basil over to meet Deuce, and Deuce was this big-ol' huge Lab, strong, and we were kind of nervous bringing little Basil around," Kendricks said. "But Deuce, actually, he changed his whole demeanor. He was very, very gentle with Basil, and then they became friends, as well."

Kendricks pulls Basil into his lap and roughhouses a little, then gives her a kiss.

Asked why he chose Basil over another type of pet, Kendricks says he loves the loyalty that most dogs provide.

"My dog doesn't listen to me, but most dogs listen to people," he quips. "They just love you. I'm an animal person, though, you know? I like all animals. Cats, dogs, it doesn't matter to me. I actually really like lizards, too, snakes, things like that."

Adds Kendricks: "Basil, though, that's my girl right there."

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