Photo credit: Adam Bettcher / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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Everyone talks about how good the Minnesota Vikings defense is and it’s easy to see why with all the success they’ve had. Ever since the Vikings hired Mike Zimmer away from the Cincinnati Bengals Minnesota has been a much better team. A big reason for a lot of that success is Middle Linebacker Eric Kendricks. Everyone doubted that Eric Kendricks would be as good as his brother Mychal Kendricks who is on the Philadelphia Eagles. However Eric has had better stats over the past two seasons. That’s surprising considering Kendricks is light for the middle linebacker position at only 232 pounds. When you look at some of the best middle LBs to ever play the game Dick Butkus (245), Ray Lewis (250), and Brian Urlacher (258) all those guys were a little bit heavier than Kendricks is. Still what Eric Kendricks lacks in weight he makes up for in speed. If you’ve watched a Vikings game recently this guy is always flying around and making big time plays. The back to back 100 tackle seasons certainly prove that and the former UCLA linebacker is also known for scoring defensive touchdowns too. Kendricks had two interceptions in the past two seasons that he has taken all the way to the house for six points each. Those are the type of plays that separate the good players from the great ones. The surprising thing about Kendricks is the fact that he’s never made a pro bowl. Minnesota was still playing last season around the time the pro bowl was taking place or the Vikings top linebacker would have most likely been there. There’s no way the league can deny Kendricks much longer though he needs to get recognized for his efforts because he’s been extremely productive. If the Vikings want to get over the hump players like Eric Kendricks will have to raise the bar for Zimmer’s ball club. It’s hard to imagine that Kendricks could be much better because he has been damn pretty good since coming into the National Football League back in 2015.
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Key Player: Eric Kendricks anchors the Vikings defense at the middle linebacker position.