For the Vikings, It’s the End of an Era with Eric Kendricks

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Back in 2014, the Minnesota Vikings made a linebacker selection from UCLA by taking Anthony Barr. General manager Rick Spielman followed that up a year later by grabbing his former teammate, Eric Kendricks.

Now nearly a decade later, Kendricks will search for a new team.

For the Vikings, It’s the End of an Era with Eric Kendricks

It has been expected since the season ended, but it certainly feels like the end of an era for Kendricks and the Vikings. Following Barr’s footsteps, Kendricks will look for a new team after eight years in Minnesota. Although he has started to show signs of his age, there is no denying that Kendricks wasn’t among the best at his position for quite some time.

with Eric Kendricks
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Across eight years with the Vikings, Kendricks played in 117 games, starting 113 of them. He was a force in the middle of the field and was rewarded for his performance in 2019 with an All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection.

With much of the Minnesota defensive roster expected to see turnover this offseason, pulling the bandaid off in the form of Kendricks leaving may help some. There shouldn’t be shock in seeing big names on both sides of the ball go, but this certainly prepares fans for what is to come.

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Kendricks has been a pillar in the community and a staple for Vikings fans over the years. He combines the desired combination of talent on the field while having been an adopted statesman off it. Despite his status as a California native, Kendricks indeed fell into the “one of us” category and was celebrated in Minnesota.

Replacing a fixture in the middle of the defense is the Vikings next task. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores will work with a linebacker group that has seen some turnover. Brian Asamoah will be expected to take a substantial step forward in year two, and early returns have suggested he looks primed to do it.

It remains to be seen how the Vikings will line up defensively or what specific scheme they will employ. Certainly, that will influence roster decisions as the team adds this offseason and through the draft, but Flores has indicated that the overall goal is simply to be better.

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At the end of the day, it is never easy for a team to move on from such a mainstay in the lineup, but clearing nearly $10 million in cap space while needing to both get under the cap and get better is a must. This is the first decision of many tough ones that face general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and seeing pillars of this franchise move on will be nothing short of odd as they don new uniforms.

Wishing Kendricks the best is incredibly easy. Seeing him go somewhere else will be odd. Just as his former teammate Barr showed when facing Minnesota with the Dallas Cowboys, the sides will definitely meet again.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.