Vikings Releasing Eric Kendricks
The Minnesota Vikings are releasing veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks, per Tom Pelissero.
Kendricks, 31, is a career Viking. He’s been with Minnesota for the past eight seasons. Kendricks has only missed four starts out of a potential 117 games in his career.
“While he is best known as a playmaker and respected linebacker across the league, Eric’s contributions to the Vikings extend far beyond the field because of his selfless and unwavering commitment to improving societal issues. I have the utmost respect for Eric and wish him and Ally, along with their growing family, continued success in their next chapter.” Vikings G.M. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a statement.
Back in 2018, Kendricks signed a five-year deal with Minnesota worth $50 million. The Vikings are saving $9.5 million by cutting the aging linebacker.
PFF graded 2022 as Kendricks’s worst season in the pros.
This move makes a lot of sense for Minnesota. They were mired in deep cap hell before they cut Kendricks, at $24 million over the salary cap. The move to release Kendricks frees up at least $9.5 million, and now they sit at around $11 million over, per Sportrac.
Minnesota’s replacement for Kendricks? It could come from in-house, with fourth-year player Troy Dye throwing his hat in the ring as a potential starter. They could also address the position in the NFL Draft, where the Vikings have four picks- potentially five- including the 24th overall selection.
Meanwhile, for Kendricks, he had to see the writing on the wall with how bad the Vikings are in cap space right now. He’ll have a chance to sign with anyone he wants.
The inside linebacker market in the 2023 offseason is expected to be competitive. The New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Las Vegas Raiders are three teams among many who need a middle linebacker at the moment.
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