Eric Kendricks
refer to caption
Kendricks with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015
No. 54 – Minnesota Vikings
Position:Middle linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1992-02-29) February 29, 1992 (age 30)
Clovis, California
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
High school:Herbert Hoover
(Fresno, California)
College:UCLA (2010–2014)
NFL Draft:2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2022
Total tackles:831
Sacks:14.0
Forced fumbles:4
Fumble recoveries:5
Interceptions:9
Defensive touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Eric-Nathan Marvin Kendricks (born February 29, 1992) is an American football middle linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the UCLA Bruins. As a senior in 2014, he won the Butkus Award as the nation's top collegiate linebacker and received All-American honors. He was drafted by the Vikings in the second round, 45th overall of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Early years

Kendricks was born to Yvonne Thagon and Marvin Kendricks, a former running back for UCLA who played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL).[1] He grew up with older brother Mychal and younger sister Danielle. They were raised by Thagon, their single mother, who had split from their father, Marvin, who became addicted to crack cocaine. By the time Kendricks started high school, Marvin cleaned himself up. He married and took a job, and arranged with Thagon to be involved in his kids' lives.[2]

High school career

Kendricks attended Herbert Hoover High School in Fresno, California, where he earned three letters for coach Pat Plummer playing linebacker, quarterback, running back, kicker, and punter and serving as team captain his junior and senior seasons.[3] He was teammates with his brother as a sophomore in 2007.[2] As a junior in 2008, he was named first-team All-league defense and was credited with 85 tackles and two sacks, as well as 10 touchdowns on offense. As a senior in 2009, he registered 117 tackles and two interceptions on defense and scored 14 touchdowns on offense. For his senior season efforts, he was named first-team All-league defense by the Fresno Bee. Kendricks also earned multiple letters in basketball (team captain and first-team All-league in '09) for coach Nick French and baseball (first-team All-league in '09 and '10) for coach Sam Flores. He was named 2010 male Tri-Athlete of the Year at his school.[3]

Regarded as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Kendricks was ranked No. 60 among outside linebackers and No. 92 among all players in the state of California. Also viewed as a three-star prospect by Scout.com, he was rated No. 42 among middle linebackers nationally and No. 88 in California. He was named to the GoldenStatePreps.com All-State third-team and All-NorCal first-team. Kendricks committed to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to play college football in November 2009.[4]

College career

Kendricks blocks a punt in a game against USC in 2012.
Kendricks blocks a punt in a game against USC in 2012.

Kendricks played for the Bruins from 2010 to 2014. After redshirting in 2010, Kendricks played in 14 games with three starts as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He finished the season ranking second on the team in tackles with 76, tied for fourth with 4.5 tackles for loss and tied for second with two sacks. He earned an honorable mention Freshman All-American by College Football News and honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic team. He also received the John Boncheff Jr. Memorial team award for Rookie of the Year at the annual team banquet.[5]

As a 14-game starter as a sophomore in 2012, Kendricks was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 by the coaches, received the Donn Moomaw Award for Outstanding Defensive Player against USC at the annual team awards banquet and was an honorable mention academic All-conference. He led the Pac-12 in tackles with an average of 10.64, a mark which ranked 11th in the nation, becoming the first Bruin to lead the conference in tackles since Spencer Havner in 2004. Kendricks also returned two fumbles for touchdowns (Houston, at Washington State), blocked a punt (USC) and made his first career interception (USC). His total of 150 tackles was the most by a Bruin player since Jerry Robinson registered a school-record 161 stops in 1978. He recorded nine games with double-digit tackles, including in each of the last seven games of the season.

In Kendricks' 2013 junior campaign, he led the team in tackles for the second straight season with 105 tackles and ranked third in the Pac-12 in tackles average with an 8.8 per game mark. He was an honorable mention All-conference academic team. He was awarded the N.N. Sugarman Award for Best Leadership on defense, the UCLA Captains Award and the Bruin Force Award at the team banquet.

Kendricks entered his senior season in 2014 as a starter for the third straight year.[6][7] He led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 149 solo tackles, and set the UCLA record for career tackles with 481, breaking the previous mark of 468 set by Jerry Robinson (1976–1978).[8][9] In the Bruins' 40–35 win over Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl, Kendricks was named the game's defensive most valuable player after recording 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss.[9] For the season, he won the Butkus Award, given annually to the top linebacker in college football and becoming UCLA's first winner.[10] The Walter Camp Football Foundation selected him as a second-team All-American,[11] and he was also named second-team All-Pac-12.[12]

College statistics

Erik Kendricks Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck TfL PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR Yds TD
2011 UCLA 14 3 77 52 25 2.0 4.5 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 UCLA 14 14 149 91 58 2.0 6.0 5 1 10 10.0 10 0 2 3 63 2
2013 UCLA 11 11 105 64 41 2.0 4.0 2 1 10 10.0 10 0 0 0 0 0
2014 UCLA 13 13 145 101 44 4.0 11.5 2 1 10 10.0 10 0 1 1 0 0
Totals 52 41 476 308 168 10.0 26.0 12 3 30 10.0 10 0 3 4 63 2

Awards and honors

Professional career

Pre-draft

Kendricks solidified his status as one of the draft's top linebackers with an impressive performance at the 2015 NFL Combine; his 4.61 40-yard dash was one of the fastest times among linebackers. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, he was ranked as the top inside linebacker prospect by DraftScout.com, the second ranked inside linebacker by NFL analyst Charles Davis, the third best linebacker prospect by Sports Illustrated and was ranked the fourth best linebacker prospect by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.[13][14][15]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 0+14 in
(1.84 m)
232 lb
(105 kg)
31 in
(0.79 m)
9+58 in
(0.24 m)
4.61 s 1.57 s 2.64 s 4.14 s 7.14 s 38 in
(0.97 m)
10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m)
22 reps
All values from NFL Combine except 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill from UCLA's pro day[16]

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings selected Kendricks in the second round with the 45th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Vikings also selected former UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr in the previous draft, reuniting the teammates in the NFL. Kendricks was the sixth linebacker drafted in 2015.

On May 7, 2015, the Minnesota Vikings signed Kendricks to a four-year, $5.15 million contract that included $2.67 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $2.00 million.[17]

2015 season

Throughout training camp, Kendricks competed to be the starting middle linebacker against Audie Cole and Gerald Hodges. Head coach Mike Zimmer named Kendricks the backup middle linebacker to begin the regular season, behind starter Gerald Hodges.

He made his professional regular season debut in the Minnesota Vikings' season-opener at the San Francisco 49ers and made one solo tackle during their 20–3 loss. On October 4, 2015, Kendricks earned his first career start during a 23–20 loss at the Denver Broncos. He finished the Week four loss with four solo tackles and made his first career sack on Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning for six-yard loss during the second quarter.[18] On October 7, 2015, the Minnesota Vikings traded Gerald Hodges to the San Francisco 49ers, effectively making Kendricks the starting middle linebacker for the remainder of the season. In Week 6, Kendricks collected a season-high ten combined tackles (nine solo) during a 16–10 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. His ten combined tackles tied a franchise record by a rookie, along with Harrison Smith in 2012 and Malik Boyd in 1994. On October 25, 2015, Kendricks recorded six solo tackles and a season-high two sacks on quarterback Matthew Stafford as the Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 28–19. On October 29, 2015, Kendricks was named the NFL Defensive Rookie for the month of October, when he posted 20 combined tackles, four sacks and 5 quarterback pressures in just three games. He became the first Vikings defensive player to win Rookie of the Month honors since Kevin Williams did it in 2003, and the eighth to win it overall. The last Vikings player to be selected Rookie of the Month was Cordarrelle Patterson in December 2013.[19] Kendricks was inactive for two games (Weeks 9–10) due to a rib injury.[20] While playing 14 games in 2015, Kendricks became the first rookie to lead the Vikings in tackles (92) since Rip Hawkins in 1961, helping Mike Zimmer's team win its first NFC North title in six years before falling to the Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Game. He also posted 4.0 sacks, which is tied with Anthony Barr for the 2nd-most sacks by a rookie linebacker in team history, trailing only Dwayne Rudd, who finished his rookie season in 2015 with 5.0 sacks. On January 19, 2016, Kendricks was named to the Pro Football Writers of America's (PFWA) 2015 NFL All-Rookie team.[21] Kendricks led the Vikings defense in tackles as a rookie with 92 total tackles, marking the first time a rookie has led the club in tackles since Rip Hawkins in 1961. Kendricks completed his rookie campaign with a total of 92 combined tackles (72 solo), four sacks, and one pass deflection in 14 games and 11 starts.

2016 season

After missing the entire preseason due to a hamstring injury he suffered early in training camp, Kendricks returned for the season opener game to bring back his first career interception 77 yards for a touchdown and post six tackles, including one for a loss, in Minnesota's 25–16 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.[22] His interception return late in the third quarter gave the Vikings their first lead of the game at 12–10 and was the sixth-longest by a Vikings linebacker ever and the longest interception return in the NFL during a Kickoff Weekend since Harrison Smith's 81 yarder at St. Louis in 2014.[23] For his stellar performance in week 1, Kendricks earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, becoming the eighth different Viking to win the award under head coach Mike Zimmer.[24] In Week 5, Kendricks was stellar in coverage against the Houston Texans, as he gave up just two receptions on seven targets for 19 yards and broke up a pass according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).[25]

2017 season

In 2017, Kendricks started all 16 games, recording a career-high and team-leading 113 tackles.[26][27]

2018 season

On April 16, 2018, Kendricks signed a five-year, $50 million contract extension with the Vikings with $25 million guaranteed.[28] He played in and started 14 games. He finished the season with 108 tackles, two interceptions, one sack and a forced fumble.[29]

2019 season

In Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kendricks forced a fumble on tight end Zach Ertz that was recovered by teammate Anthony Barr in the 38–20 win.[30] In Week 7 against the Detroit Lions, Kendricks recorded a team high 12 tackles in the 42–30 win.[31] In Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, Kendricks recovered a fumble forced by Anthony Barr on Aaron Jones and recovered another fumble forced by Harrison Smith on Davante Adams during the 23–10 loss. During Kendricks' second fumble recovery, he suffered a quad injury and was forced to exit the game.[32]

In the Divisional Round of the playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers, Kendricks intercepted a pass thrown by Jimmy Garoppolo and returned it for four yards during the 27–10 loss.[33]

2020 season

In Week 9 against the Detroit Lions, Kendricks recorded his first interception of the season off a pass thrown by Matthew Stafford during the 34–20 win.[34]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR Yds
2015 MIN 14 11 92 72 20 4.0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 MIN 15 14 109 70 39 2.5 9 1 77 77.0 77 1 1 1 0
2017 MIN 16 16 113 67 46 1.0 6 1 33 33.0 33 1 0 0 0
2018 MIN 14 14 108 63 45 1.0 7 2 3 1.5 3 0 1 1 0
2019 MIN 15 15 110 70 40 0.5 12 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 2 0
2020 MIN 11 11 107 69 38 0.0 6 3 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 MIN 15 15 143 81 62 5.0 4 2 22 11.0 0 0 0 1 2
Totals[35] 100 96 782 492 290 14.0 45 9 133 14.8 77 2 4 5 2

Personal life

Kendricks' brother, Mychal, plays linebacker in the NFL.[3] Their father led the Bruins in rushing in 1970 and 1971.[3][36] Kendricks is the only active NFL player to be born on a leap day.[37]

References

  1. ^ Crumpacker, John (October 29, 2011). "Kendricks brothers on opposite sides in Cal-UCLA". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Foster, Chris (December 30, 2014). "Success is relative to UCLA's Eric Kendricks". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Eric Kendricks Biography". UCLABruins.com. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  4. ^ UCLA football: Linebacker Eric Kendricks commits to Bruins
  5. ^ Eric Kendricks' play at UCLA is no joke
  6. ^ Kendricks ready to lead UCLA defense
  7. ^ UCLA's Eric Kendricks could move into the spotlight this season
  8. ^ UCLA's Eric Kendricks sets new school tackle record
  9. ^ a b "#11 KANSAS STATE VS. #14 UCLA GAME NOTES". AlamoBowl.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Foster, Chris (December 9, 2014). "UCLA Linebacker Eric Kendricks Wins Butkus Award". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Foster, Chris (December 11, 2014). "Do Pac-12 coaches need a do-over on UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  12. ^ Klein, Gary (December 2, 2014). "USC places five players, UCLA one on All-Pac-12 first team in football". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Davis, Charles (April 1, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft prospect rankings by position". NFL.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  14. ^ Mayock, Mike (April 27, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock's top 100 prospects". NFL.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  15. ^ Burke, Chris (March 30, 2015). "The SI 64: Sports Illustrated's top 64 prospects in the 2015 NFL draft". si.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  16. ^ *Eric Kendricks | UCLA, ILB : 2015 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
  17. ^ "Spotrac.com; Eric Kendricks contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  18. ^ "Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos – October 4th, 2015". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  19. ^ "Eric Kendricks Named Defensive Rookie of the Month". www.vikings.com. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  20. ^ "Eric Kendricks Injury: Updates on Vikings LB's Ribs and Return". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  21. ^ 2015 PFWA All-Rookie Team
  22. ^ Eric Kendricks comes up big for Vikings
  23. ^ 3 Stats that Stood Out: Vikings at Titans
  24. ^ "Eric Kendricks Wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week". Archived from the original on January 26, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  25. ^ Vikings defense forces Osweiler into awful game
  26. ^ "Eric Kendricks 2017 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  27. ^ "2017 Minnesota Vikings Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  28. ^ Wesseling, Chris (April 16, 2018). "Vikings sign Eric Kendricks to 5-year, $50M extension". NFL.com.
  29. ^ "Eric Kendricks 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  30. ^ "Cousins, Diggs fly past Eagles in Vikings' 38–20 win". www.espn.com. Associated Press. October 13, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  31. ^ "Cousins has 4 TD passes as Vikings surge past Lions 42–30". www.espn.com. Associated Press. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  32. ^ "Packers clinch NFC North with 23–10 win over Vikings". www.espn.com. Associated Press. December 23, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  33. ^ "49ers win 1st playoff game in 6 years, 27–10 over Vikings". www.espn.com. Associated Press. January 11, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  34. ^ "Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings – November 8th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  35. ^ "Eric Kendricks Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  36. ^ Boyles, Bob; Guido, Paul (2009). The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia 2009–2010. Skyhorse. p. 1317. ISBN 9781602396777. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  37. ^ "Leap Day: Athletes who were born on February 29". Touchdown Wire. February 28, 2020. Retrieved September 25, 2020.