The PFF Prediction for Vikings Roster Casualty

2022 Vikings Betting Odds Tracker: Week 12
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The Minnesota Vikings [and all other NFL teams] have less than a month to get under the NFL’s salary cap threshold, as free agency officially kicks off on March 15th.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must make decisions on these 18 free agents:

  • Kris Boyd (CB)
  • Garrett Bradbury (C)
  • Blake Brandel (OT)
  • Jonathan Bullard (DL)
  • Andrew DePaola (LS)
  • Ben Ellefson (TE)
  • Bisi Johnson (WR)
  • Greg Joseph (K)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Nick Mullens (QB)
  • Patrick Peterson (CB)
  • Austin Schlottman (C)
  • Duke Shelley (CB)
  • Irv Smith (TE)
  • Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)
  • Khyiris Tonga (NT)
  • Chandon Sullivan (CB)
  • Oli Udoh (OT)

Meanwhile, he’ll contemplate cap-cut casualties with players who are not free agents but could be jettisoned from the roster for hefty cap savings. Such men include C.J. Ham (FB), Jordan Hicks (LB), Adam Thielen (WR), etc.

The PFF Prediction for Vikings Roster Casualty

Well, Pro Football Focus has one obvious roster casualty in mind aside from Ham, Hicks, or Thielen, and that’s linebacker Eric Kendricks.

The PFF Prediction for
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Kendricks joined the Vikings in 2015 from the 2nd Round of the NFL Draft. Since then, he’s performed marvelously for Minnesota and was an absolute staple of defenses in 2018, 2019, and 2020. He also played well from 2015 to 2017 and 2021 to 2022 but truly rose to power from 2018 to 2020.

But this offseason, Adofo-Mensah would save $9.5 million by simply releasing Kendricks, a move that might be too irresistible for a defense desiring speed and youth under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

PFF’s Brad Spielberger published an article this week detailing one cut candidate from each NFL team and predicted Kendricks for the Vikings, “The porous Minnesota defense could be even worse in 2023 given the age of a lot of their top contributors from this past season, but the hiring of defensive coordinator Brian Flores and the potential growth of recent draft picks should inspire some optimism.”

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

“Flores’ defense is a polar opposite of the system deployed by Ed Donatell, and perhaps tasking Kendricks with more man coverage responsibilities could help him bounce back from his career-low 46.4 coverage grade in 2022. However, Kendricks may also be viewed as a player who has lost a step now on the wrong side of 30,” Spielberger concluded.

This is Kendricks’ career PFF resume:

  • 2015 = 59.2
  • 2016 = 68.9
  • 2017 = 65.5
  • 2018 = 64.5
  • 2019 = 90.2
  • 2020 = 82.6
  • 2021 = 59.2
  • 2022 = 61.1
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One month ago, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox provided a three-part plan to “fix the Vikings” this offseason, and right off the bat, he mentioned releasing Kendricks, too, “It’s never easy to part with a longtime fan favorite, but moving on from linebacker Eric Kendricks is something Minnesota must at least consider this offseason.”

ESPN’s Aaron Schatz authored an article last weekend about 2023 offseason predictions and agreed with Spielberger and Knox, “The Vikings will cut veteran linebackers Kendricks and Jordan Hicks to clear cap room to give Jefferson a Tyreek Hill-level contract extension.”

If the Vikings indeed part ways with Kendricks, they’ll need a prominent off-ball linebacker from free agency or the NFL draft to pair with second-year defender Brian Asamoah in the middle of the field.

Kendricks has played more career games as a Viking than Jared Allen, Chuck Foreman, Randy Moss, Robert Smith, and Gary Zimmerman.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by