A Few Potential Landing Spots for Eric Kendricks
Earlier on Monday morning, the Minnesota Vikings announced that they would be releasing longtime starting linebacker Eric Kendricks. Kendricks is a former All-Pro player, and despite perhaps being a step slower than he was during that terrific 2019 season, he still is as sharp as ever in terms of his football IQ and anticipation.
There is very little reason to believe that the 31-year-old linebacker won’t land on his feet with another NFL franchise in 2023. The question we will try to answer today is in regard to which NFL team Kendricks could suit up for next season. Here are a few of the potential landing spots for the former Vikings star.
The Dallas Cowboys were one of the premiere contenders in the NFC playoffs last season before being defeated by the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Now, they head into the offseason with uncertainty surrounding the status of 2018 first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch.
If Vander Esch were to leave in free agency, a potential replacement could be Kendricks. Pairing him with Micah Parsons would take much of the load off the 31-year-old linebacker. In addition, don’t forget that Kendricks’ good friend and former Vikings teammate Anthony Barr currently finds himself in Dallas as well.
The Denver Broncos are in the middle of an attempt to completely revamp a team that disappointed mightily in 2022. A year after trading to acquire Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks, they traded to acquire Sean Payton from the New Orleans Saints to be their head coach.
The Broncos already have one of the better defenses in the entire NFL, but the one position that they aren’t truly solidified yet is the interior linebacker spot. Kendricks may be a step slower than he used to be, but in a Broncos defense with multiple established stars, his role should play much more to his strengths than with Minnesota in 2022 where he was simply asked to do too much.
Don’t forget that the 2022 Vikings linebacker coach, Greg Manusky, joined Payton’s staff in Denver after the Vikings let him go earlier this offseason as well. This connection plus the opportunity to potentially compete for a deep playoff run could lure Kendricks to Denver.
New York Giants
The New York Giants were one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season, and they of course defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round of the playoffs back in January. This blossoming contender in New York could be an attractive destination for Kendricks for a few reasons.
First and foremost, the Giants, like the others on this list, have a clear need for an off-ball linebacker this offseason. Jaylon Smith is set to hit free agency, and the other starting linebacker is 2022 fifth-round pick Micah McFadden. Adding Kendricks gives McFadden a veteran to learn from as well as an added player with pass coverage skills on their defense.
In addition, former Vikings co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson is a coach for the Giants defense as well. He has a great reputation among players across the league and could be a reason why Kendricks would be interested in the Big Apple.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.
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