Eric Kendricks Bolts

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

For the second time in a year, former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks will seek a new team.

Eric Kendricks Bolts

Kendricks had previously latched onto the Los Angeles Chargers last offseason after spending eight loyal seasons in Minnesota. Now, though, the Chargers have opted to sever ties with the 32-year-old.

Eric Kendricks
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday, “Chargers released veteran LB Eric Kendricks, per source.”

Minnesota said goodbye to Kendricks in March 2023 amid an offseason of change, including the departures of Dalvin Cook, Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Irv Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Cameron Dantzler, Duke Shelley, and Adam Thielen, among others.

Will Brian Flores Bring Kendricks' Replacement With Him?
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Soon after, Kendricks latched onto the Chargers roster, a hop, skip, and jump away from his college stomping grounds, UCLA. Kendricks logged 575 total tackles with the Vikings from 2015 to 2022, the most of any Vikings player during the timeframe.

Minnesota drafted Kendricks in the 2nd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the same event that netted Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. It took a couple of seasons for Kendricks to metamorphize into an otherworldly defender, but when he did, he was an All-Pro contributor.

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Los Angeles will save $6.5 million with Kendrick’s release, embarking on a new era with Jim Harbaugh in charge. The Chargers’ linebacker room will need attention next week or from the draft, as Nick Niemann and Daiyan Henley are the only men at Kendricks’ position currently under contract for 2024. Kendricks, on the other hand, can sign anywhere in the league as early as now.

Kendricks earned a Pro Bowl and 1st-Team All-Pro nod in 2019, coincidentally the last time Minnesota won a playoff game. He played most of his career in purple with college teammate Anthony Barr — also a linebacker — before Barr bolted for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022.

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Kendricks logged 117 tackles in 15 games last season, with 7 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss, and 6 passes defended. He also grabbed a rather impressive 72.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. While a reunion with the Vikings is unlikely on the whole, Kendricks didn’t really struggle in 2023, and lo and behold, Minnesota needs an off-ball linebacker next to Ivan Pace Jr. for 2024, especially if Jordan Hicks is not re-signed.

Last spring, Kendricks said sayonara and thanked Vikings fans on Instagram, “Minnesota, I gave you my all. They told me it was a business, but I’ll always treat it like the game I love. Heart on my sleeve for everyone to see. I don’t know any other way. Skol.”

The Chargers’ defense ranked 26th leaguewide in 2023 per DVOA and is expected to undergo major personnel overhaul in the coming months — probably why Kendricks was let go.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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