Kendricks, a product of the 2015 draft, was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. Because he was a second round pick, the Vikings did not have the option of extending him via the fifth-year option.
The linebacker earned his big money deal after leading the Vikings in tackles in each of his first three seasons. In total, he has racked up 314 regular season tackles, plus 24 in the postseason. Last year, he set a new career high with 113 tackles and played on 1,099 snaps which was good for seventh amongst all linebackers in the NFL.
Kendricks’ work against the pass has helped the Vikings bottle up opposing tight ends as well as pass-catching running backs. Last year, the Vikings D allowed the fewest passing yards to opposing tailbacks in the league. Meanwhile, Football Outsiders had them ranked as the top overall defense in the NFL.
The Vikings have several defensive stars locked up with cornerback Xavier Rhodes, safety Harrison Smith, defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and Kendricks under contract for multiple seasons. There’s still some work to be done, however, with linebacker Anthony Barr and edge rusher Danielle Hunter on the agenda.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.