The Sole Viking on PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) and Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

The season is not quite going to plan for the Minnesota Vikings thus far.

More things are going wrong than are going right. However, one player who catches the eye, even outside of Minnesota, is linebacker Eric Kendricks. He has cemented his place as one of the best linebackers in the game and rightly receives praise from all quarters. Eric Kendricks is good at football.

The 29-year-old UCLA alumnus was drafted by the Vikings in the second round back in 2015. Teaming up with his former college teammate Anthony Barr coming out of college, Barr garnered the most attention. But Kendricks is the star.

A First-Team All-Pro season in 2019 catapulted him into the limelight. Injury shortened his season in 2020 when he was playing at a high level and holding a terrible Vikings defense together. He is back healthy this year, and his performance in coverage garners an elite grade of 90.6 from Pro Football Focus, which gets him a place in PFF’s 2021 NFL midseason All-Pro team as a first-team selection — the only Minnesota Viking to be included.

On, Kendricks. PFF’s Sam Monson says,

Kendricks is arguably the game’s best coverage linebacker and has been able to show that across multiple seasons at a position and in an area where extreme fluctuations are common.

Getting a PPF grade in the 90’s is not easy. In Eric Kendricks, the Vikings have an elite player at his position. There aren’t many on the roster, and probably no other player with a legitimate claim to be the best at their position.

His run defense, like the rest of the Vikings defense, has been below par this season. His overall PFF grade is down at 78.6, which is low for Kendricks, but the highest score on the Vikings defense now that Danielle Hunter is out for the rest of the season. It is second on the team behind only quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Kendricks can still improve in the second half of the season, especially with the run defense. If he can do that while also keeping his coverage at an elite level, it could be another season of personal honors for the linebacker — whether it is a successful one for the team or not.

Either way, the Minnesota Vikings need more players like Eric Kendricks.