The Eric Kendricks Trade Isn’t Going to Happen

Eric Kendricks / Russell Wilson
Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister (48) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) and middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week, I took on the idea that Patrick Peterson might get sent to Arizona for a 6th. From what I can gather, it would take far more to get the veteran corner into a different jersey. The team wants him to provide steady leadership to the young DBs and rock-solid on-field play, so a late rounder won’t do it. Another trade theory involves Eric Kendricks, the veteran middle linebacker who will play a large role in Minnesota’s defense.

Bleacher Report suggests that Denver would be interested in Kendricks:

The 30-year-old has been as productive as any of his peers and is coming off maybe his best all-around season yet in which he accumulated 143 tackles, two interceptions, four pass deflections, and five sacks. Kendricks is still a star despite his age, but he makes more sense for a true Super Bowl contender than a fringe playoff hopeful.

With a base salary of $9.15 million in both 2022 and 2023, Kendricks is affordable compared to the rest of the linebacker market. The Vikings would save $9.4 million in a trade on top of receiving a solid draft pick. Losing his leadership and stability are part of the tough long-term decisions the new Vikings regime would need to weigh.

In fairness, Denver likely would be interested in acquiring Eric Kendricks. Like Dustin, though, I’d be surprised if Minnesota makes this move. Minnesota has been clear that their intention is to compete in 2022. At this point, it doesn’t really matter whether we think that’s a good idea or not. All of their decisions have come with the idea that competing in 2022 is the goal. Retaining some of their best veterans has thus been a large part of the overall decision making. Why start trading them away now?

Plus, the depth beyond Kendricks and Jordan Hicks isn’t great. Brian Asamoah, Troy Dye, Chazz Surratt, and Blake Lynch are the leading backups. Perhaps they shine, but there’s no guarantee. So, trading away the MLB1 would really put the defense in a tricky spot. A young LB would need to get better in a hurry. It’s also notable Ed Donatell has noted his enthusiasm for Kendricks. The DC is preparing to have Kendricks on the field.

Last year, Kendricks wasn’t as dominant as in past seasons. He’s likely to bounce back in Donatell’s scheme. It’s a defense that will ask the veteran LB to use his speed and smarts to make plays all over the field. He’ll need to run a lot, getting to the flats with consistency to tackle RBs and TEs looking to get down the sideline. He should thrive in this role.

Given Minnesota’s desire for 2022 contention, it’s far likelier they add talent rather than send it out. Currently, there are some rumors surrounding Ndamukong Suh. There are other players the Vikings are keeping in contact with. Don’t be surprised if one ends up signing in Minnesota. What would be way more surprising is if a great vet like Eric Kendricks gets sent out.

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