The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a new contract with safety Andrew Sendejo, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the contract is a four-year deal worth $16 million.
Sendejo has spent five of his six NFL seasons with the Vikings and has recorded 129 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in that time.
He started getting regular playing time at the safety position beginning in 2013. He was originally utilized more on special teams but slowly worked his way into the Vikings defense when Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith went down with an injury.
He's started 26 games since then and has appeared at free safety and strong safety while staying on special teams.
He hasn't exhibited the kind of play that would classify him as a Pro Bowler, but Sendejo was second on the Minnesota defense last season with 57 solo tackles, even though he missed three games to a knee injury.
Minnesota Vikings @Vikings
Xavier tipped it and @Asendejo picked it off. Watch the first quarter INT. #NYGvsMIN https://t.co/FjwkXAyOFP12/28/2015, 2:24:44 AM
Still, it was unclear if Sendejo would be back to play alongside Smith in Minnesota's secondary, as he was set to hit free agency on March 9.
When Matt Vensel of the Minnesota Star Tribune asked if the Vikings had the right player to work with the Pro Bowler, head coach Mike Zimmer said that he didn't know.
"I think that if Harrison Smith was paired with a guy that had some other qualities, we could allow Harrison to be more of an impactful player," Zimmer said. "I think Harrison can be more impactful if he had the right kind of guy next to him."
Vensel described Sendejo as a player who struggled with "inconsistency and mental lapses," but his presence in the secondary didn't hurt the Vikings pass defense. Last year, the unit ranked second in the league, allowing only 2,928 yards in 2015.
Inking Sendejo to a four-year deal shows that the team does value him within its system, even if he isn't starting at safety. There is plenty of time in the offseason for the team to make moves and look for an upgrade at the position anyway.
With the NFL draft approaching in April, the Vikings could take a look at available safeties, as NFL.com's Lance Zierlein listed the position as one of the team's most glaring needs. With the 23rd pick, they could take a look at the likes of Boise State's Darian Thompson, Clemson's Jayron Kearse or Miami's Deon Bush.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com
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