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Eric Kendricks, Vikings Agree on Reported 5-Year, $50M Contract Extension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 19: Eric Kendricks #54 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Rams on November 19, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday they signed linebacker Eric Kendricks to a contract extension.

The deal reportedly will be for five years and $50 million, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. It will also include $25 million in guaranteed money.

Kendricks, 26, had another excellent season for the Vikings in 2017, recording a career-high 113 tackles to go along with a sack and an interception. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 75.1 for the season, 37th among linebackers.

Matthew Coller of 1500 ESPN noted Kendricks played a key part in the team's pass defense as well: 

Matthew Coller @MatthewColler

And so it begins: The Vikings announce they have agreed to a contract extension with Eric Kendricks. A terrific cover linebacker who fits today's NFL. Vikings were the best team vs. RBs receiving out of the backfield last year.

He's established himself as an integral component of Minnesota's stellar defense and now joins Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph as defensive pillars inked to long-term extensions, per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. That leaves Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter in line for extensions in the future, cap considerations pending, a fact that didn't slip past Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com: 

Gregg Rosenthal @greggrosenthal

Vikings announce extension for LB Eric Kendricks. He’s invaluable. Notable but not shocking that he gets a deal before Anthony Barr.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs is also eligible to become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Keeping the defensive mainstays signed for the long term while adding free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason should keep the Vikings near the top of the NFC for years to come. They reached the NFC Championship Game in the 2017 season, and though they fell short against the Philadelphia Eagles, the core of the team remains one of the NFL's best.

The Vikings may not be able to fit all their stars under the cap in the coming years, but they clearly felt Kendricks wasn't a player they could risk losing.

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