Vikings release Eric Kendricks

The Vikings are moving on from one of their key defensive players.

Minnesota has released linebacker Eric Kendricks, the team announced on Monday morning.

“As a Pro Bowler and team captain, a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and a leader of the Vikings social justice efforts, Eric leaves a powerful, permanent legacy within our organization and the Minnesota community,” Vikings G.M. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a statement. “While he is best known as a playmaker and respected linebacker across the league, Eric’s contributions to the Vikings extend far beyond the field because of his selfless and unwavering commitment to improving societal issues. I have the utmost respect for Eric and wish him and Ally, along with their growing family, continued success in their next chapter.”

Kendricks was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft and it did not take him long to become a major contributor to Minnesota’s defense. Over the last eight seasons, he’s appeared in 117 games with 113 starts. Kendricks was a first-team All-Pro in 2019.

Kendricks has led Minnesota in tackles in each of the last two seasons. He recorded 137 of them in 2022, with eight tackles for loss, a sack, and six passes defensed.

“It is extremely difficult to start more than 100 games in this league, but Eric has been a staple in the locker room since he entered the NFL,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said in a statement. “During my first year as head coach, Eric played a critical role as a captain and a member of the leadership council in helping establish the culture we want in Minnesota. He was a consistent mentor to his younger teammates, and his tireless work ethic set a standard for others to emulate.”

By releasing Kendricks, the Vikings will save $9.5 million in cap space with $1.93 million in dead money.

Kendricks had just one season remaining on his contract. Kendricks is immediately eligible to sign with any club.

Vikings release Eric Kendricks originally appeared on Pro Football Talk