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The Vikings continued the 2015 NFL Draft by selecting UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks in the second round. Daniel House talks about why this pick made so much sense for the Mike Zimmer's defense.
Updated: May 1st, 2015 8:05pm
By: Daniel House
The Vikings made their second round selection and added a player that can immediately impact their defense. After adding cornerback Trae Waynes in round one, they decided to address the linebacker corps in the second set of selections. UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks is a great fit in Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme. He was the 2014 Butkus Award winner and is extremely instinctive and aggressive.
Kendricks could remain inside or could move to the 'WILL' spot, which gives the team flexibility to use Anthony Barr in a multitude of different ways. Barr and Kendricks played together at UCLA (were college roommates) and they will be on the field plenty when the Vikings are in the nickel package. According to Kendricks, the team has indicated they want to use him inside this season. That means, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Gerald Hodges could be the linebacker mix. It could be interesting to see how the Vikings utilize Chad Greenway, but it is very likely that he will be rotating in and will be used solely as veteran depth.
The Vikings got great value by selecting a first round product like Kendricks in the second round. He not only was the best player available, but filled a position of need. Issues with his knee caused teams to move him down their boards, but Eric Sugarman and the staff must have felt he was medically clear to be selected. It is scary to think about having two athletic playmakers at the linebacker position. My favorite ability Kendricks provides is the coverage skills he can exhibit for this team. The Vikings have struggled to cover tight ends and running backs in the past and with Kendricks having a strength in this area, they can finally address this issue.
The team is working to develop a debilitating defense and they are contributing to this by adding two very talented players in the early portion of the NFL Draft. They now will look to add some offensive playmakers in the middle rounds to keep their roster balanced.
You have to like the idea of athletic players like Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks making plays in the Vikings defense. This is a great scheme fit for Kendricks and the Vikings received great value by adding him in the second round.
Minnesota will have one more selection in the third round tonight and will continue their selections on Saturday.