The 49ers have added a new defensive player to their roster, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings are sending linebacker Gerald Hodges to San Francisco in a trade. In exchange for Hodges, Minnesota will receive center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
Hodges, 24, has been with the Vikings since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. A Penn State product, Hodges started seven of 14 games for Minnesota last season, accumulating 65 tackles to go along with a half-sack and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
In San Francisco, Hodges figures to push Michael Wilhoite for playing time. Wilhoite, who was elevated to a starting role at inside linebacker alongside NaVorro Bowman following the unexpected retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, has been inconsistent in his increased role during the first several weeks of the 2015 season.
Meanwhile, by acquiring Easton and a sixth-round pick, the Vikings add some much-needed depth to their interior offensive line, as well as landing a future draft asset. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reported earlier today (via Twitter) that the Niners intended to waive Easton, so San Francisco did well to include him in a trade instead and get something in return instead.
With Hodges no longer in the mix in Minnesota, rookie Eric Kendricks looks like a candidate to assume the Vikings’ starting middle linebacker role.