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Eagles looking to trade LB Mychal Kendricks, will Vikings be interested?

By Matthew Coller

According to a report from PhillyVoice, the brother of Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks is on the trade market.

The report notes that last season, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks saw a dip in his usage under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, seeing the field on just 26.8% this season as the Eagles deferred more to Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks. In 2015, Kendricks played 51.8% of total snaps and had been as high has 88% during his career.

Kendricks is set to have a $6.6 million cap hit in 2017 but would cost $4.8 million in dead money if he is released, which would explain why the Eagles would want to move him. Plus, Philadelphia only has around $9.8 million in cap space according to

The report notes that he could also be cut after June 1, which would save $5 million on the cap, but it would result in $3.2 million in dead money in 2018.

USA Today’s Eagles Wire lists the Browns, 49ers, Rams, Chiefs and Colts as the most likely teams to acquire the linebacker, but there is a natural connection with the Vikings because of Eric, who emerged as a quality linebacker this year, ranking 28th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus measures.

Spending that much in cap space for a linebacker when Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are already set as starters may seem like a far-fetched idea, but there are a few reasons why it might make sense, assuming the cost was very low. First, the Vikings are very likely losing their starting linebacker in base package Chad Greenway, who played 38.7% of total defensive snaps last season.

Head coach Mike Zimmer may shift to playing more nickel packages, but if not, the Vikings will have to find another linebacker to take on that 40% of snaps. Playing against the run is the main role of the third linebacker in the base package and Kendricks rated 30th in the NFL by PFF measures against the run in his limited snaps last season.

There’s also the depth issue. Since Mychal Kendricks has been an every-down linebacker before, the Vikings wouldn’t see a massive drop-off if Eric Kendricks or Barr went down with an injury. Last season, Kendricks missed most of a game against Washington and Emmanuel Lamar and Audie Cole struggling mightily to adequately replace him.

Coincidentally, Mychal (No. 95) had possibly his best game this year against the Vikings. Here he shuts down a Jerick McKinnon run.

As far as role-playing linebackers go, it would be hard to find one better than Kendricks on the free agent market. In 2013 as a full-timer, he managed 106 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, four pass deflections and six stuffed runs. Philadelphia’s 6-foot, 240-pound linebacker had four more sacks in 12 games in 2014.

Schwartz acknowledged that the reason Kendricks’ playing time dropped off is because the Eagles don’t use their linebackers to blitz as much many other teams and rushing the passer is one of Kendricks’ best talents. That skill would give more versatility to the Vikings’ base package, which rarely saw Greenway chase the passer. On this play, Kendricks dodges Ronnie Hillman’s attempted block to put a hit on Sam Bradford.

At just 26 years old, Kendricks could be a backup option in case Barr does not have a turnaround year. Barr is entering his fourth year, which means the Vikings will have to decide on either picking up his fifth-year option at a very high cap hit, signing him to a long-term deal after 2017 or letting him become an Unrestricted Free Agent (a la Cordarrelle Patterson).

He could also be a short-term fix as the dead cap money drops from $4.8 million to $3.2 million in 2018.

While the Vikings certainly have more pressing needs with their cap room than to spend it on a linebacker and they are not in a position to move out assets, but Minnesota could create even more room by making moves like releasing Sharrif Floyd and/or renegotiating with Brian Robison or releasing him. In that case, adding a luxury type player might make some sense.

The post Eagles looking to trade LB Mychal Kendricks, will Vikings be interested? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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