Zimmer impressed with linebacker Kendricks, will put him in the middle

Author:
Updated:
Original:

You couldn't blame Mike Zimmer for being excited on the first day of rookie minicamp with the Vikings sporting three highly-drafted first-year defensive players.

The Star Tribune notes that one player Zimmer seems really excited about is linebacker Eric Kendricks. The Vikings selected the UCLA middle linebacker in the second round at No. 45 overall.

Zimmer told reporters Friday the plan for now will be to keep Kendricks in the middle.

"We're going to start him at Mike linebacker and see where that goes," said Zimmer. "We believe eventually down the road he'll probably be a Will linebacker for us."

He won the 2014 Butkus Award – which goes to the nation's top college linebacker. Kendricks is known for being a tackling machine; he finished with a school record 149 tackles last season, recording 10 or more stops in 11 games.

"Kendricks is a very instinctive playmaker, he mades a lot of plays," Zimmer added. "He's very, very intelligent and you could tell that in the meetings, and out here today making all the calls."

The majority of Kendricks' college snaps came in the middle. He told reporters he started out on the weakside, but an injury to the Bruins middle linebacker forced him inside – something he believes was the best thing for him.

"When I was moved to middle I had to understand defenses as a whole," Kendricks told reporters Friday.

He believes it was that move to the middle that allowed him to develop as a linebacker, though he knows playing the middle in the NFL will be a big challenge.

"I'm open to challenges, of course it's the NFL it's going to be more challenging ," Kendricks said. "I'm open for it, I'm going to work my butt off and do what I can for this team."

One less worry for the rookie is his contract. He was one of 10 rookies to sign their first NFL deals with the Vikings on Thursday. He inked a 4-year rookie deal that will pay him about $5.15 million.

Next Up

ambulance

Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

127266986_2766399800267634_3587849554502438415_n

West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.

EDL1LeKXsAEeH32

How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.

En-KfRaXEAEbuE7

St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Related