Vikings cut LB Eric Kendricks to start salary cap purge

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings started their salary cap purge by terminating the contract of veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks on Monday, ending his eight-year run with the team.

The 2019 All-Pro started 113 regular season games — plus six in the playoffs — for the Vikings, who drafted him in the second round in 2015 out of UCLA. Kendricks totaled 857 tackles, 51 passes defensed and nine interceptions. He was voted a captain by his teammates and one of the club's most active players in community service.

The move saves $9.5 million against Minnesota's cap, with more trimming before free agency begins next week. Kendricks had no guaranteed money left on the contract extension he signed in 2018. Cutting him costs the Vikings $1.93 million in dead money.

The Vikings are high on 2022 third-round draft pick Brian Asamoah, who will likely step into the vacated starting spot. The organization felt strongly enough about Kendricks, their 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for the annual NFL award for community service, that they included farewell statements from general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, head coach Kevin O'Connell and owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf in their announcement.

“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,” O'Connell said. “He was a consistent mentor to his younger teammates, and his tireless work ethic set a standard for others to emulate. I’m thankful to have had the chance to coach Eric as a player and get to know him as a person.”


AP NFL: and

Dave Campbell, The Associated Press