Minnesota Vikings sign LB Eric Kendricks to five-year extension


A critical part of the league’s No. 1 defense will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks signed a contract extension on Monday, the franchise announced on Monday. Kendricks’ deal is a five-year extension worth $50 million with $25 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kendricks is the first of four Vikings players with contracts coming due in 2019 to receive an extension. Minnesota will also need to decide on extensions for linebacker Anthony Barr, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and defensive end Danielle Hunter ahead of when the three are set to become free agents after this season.

The former UCLA product has played a vital role in the Vikings’ front seven over the last three seasons, totaling 253 solo tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hurries, 21 pass break-ups, 7.5 sacks and two interceptions throughout his NFL career.

The Vikings had $18,996,172 in available salary cap space before Kendricks signed his deal, according to ESPN’s roster management system. Strategic planning regarding how Minnesota structures Kendricks’ deal will be important as the Vikings’ front office aims to keep as much of the current roster intact when other extensions come due.

Kendricks salary cap figure will likely have to go up in 2018 as the Vikings could look to layer a signing bonus on top of his new base salary and/or give the star linebacker a roster bonus which is payable several days after inking his new deal.

Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman began setting a new standard last summer when he and the Vikings’ front office worked out new deals for Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes more than a year before they were set to become free agents.

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