The Minnesota Vikings have signed linebacker Eric Kendricks to a five-year, $50 million deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Kendricks was one of the several players potentially hitting free agency in 2019 that might have to be let go in light of the Kirk Cousins deal the Vikings made earlier in the offseason.
As a percentage of team cap space, an average of $10 million per year — 5.6 percent of the 2018 cap — ranks 11th among all off-ball linebackers, similar to the deals that Dont’a Hightower and Sean Lee received and less than the deals Telvin Smith, Alec Ogletree and Christian Kirksey received.
This deal could signal that the Vikings prioritized the long-term value of Kendricks more than the other potential 2019 free agents, a group that includes Stefon Diggs, Trae Waynes, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter — as well as new signee Sheldon Richardson.
Should the Vikings be forced to make a decision on which free agents to keep in light of the cap pressure created by a quarterback signing, Kendricks is seemingly safe.