The Denver Post

LB Kendricks cut in salary cap purge

- By Dave Campbell

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. The 31-year- old 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 likely will 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 AdofoMensa­h, 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 in his statement. “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.”

After the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapoli­s, the normally softspoken Kendricks — who already was a key voice on the team’s social justice committee — became a louder voice of advocacy for societal change.

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