Vikings Plan to Release Linebacker Eric Kendricks

Here we go! The combine is over, the franchise tag deadline is tomorrow, and free agency opens in a week. The NFL offseason is about to get crazy, and I’m already on my second transactional news post before starting morning bullets. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the Vikings are releasing linebacker Eric Kendricks.

The Vikings are entering the offseason with one of the worst salary cap situations in the league. As we wrote in our offseason preview, Minnesota is $23.4 million over the cap.

Cutting Kendricks was the most apparent immediate solution for the Vikings. As a result, Minnesota will clear just under $10 million in cap space for the Vikings. When Kendricks’ release becomes official next week, Minnesota will be $14.9 million over the cap, per OTC’s cap calculator.

Veterans Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen are two names to watch after the Kendricks release. The Vikings could clear another $13 million by cutting Smith and Thielen before June 1. That would pull Minnesota to within $1.1 million of the salary cap.

Kendricks, 31, will become a free agent after spending his first eight seasons in the NFL with the Vikings. Kendricks logged 137 tackles in 2022 and recorded at least 130 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and four passes defensed in each of the last two seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019.

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Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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