Eric Kendricks

Eric Kendricks

refer to caption

Kendricks in 2015
No. 54Minnesota Vikings
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1992-02-29) February 29, 1992
Place of birth: Clovis, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
High school: Fresno (CA) Hoover
College: UCLA
NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2015)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 12, 2016
Total tackles: 157
Sacks: 4.0
Forced fumbles: 1
Fumble recoveries: 0
Interceptions: 1
Defensive touchdowns: 1
Player stats at

Eric-Nathan M. Kendricks (born February 29, 1992) is an American football linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at UCLA. 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 at 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, 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, he was rated No. 42 among middle linebackers nationally and No. 88 in California. He was named to the 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

Kendricks attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and played for the UCLA Bruins football team 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 a 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]

Awards and honors

Professional career


Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 0 in 232 lb 4.61 s 1.57 s 2.64 s 4.14 s 7.14 s 38 in 10 ft 4 in 22 reps
All values from NFL Combine except 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill from UCLA's pro day[13]

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. He also recorded a 38-inch (0.96m) vertical leap, a 10-foot-4 (3.17m) broad jump and did 22 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press.

Minnesota Vikings

Kendricks was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 45th 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 signed a 4-year contract with the Vikings on May 8, 2015 worth $5,155,920. He received a $2,009,760 signing bonus. 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.

2015 season

Kendricks began the year in the Vikings' nickel package and shifted to an every-down role when starter Gerald Hodges was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in October 7, 2015. Kendricks made his first career start at Denver in week 4 when the Vikings opened the game in the nickel package; he recorded his first career sack against Peyton Manning and finished the game with four solo tackles. Kendricks made his second start in the Vikings' 16-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in week 6 and finished with a game-high ten solo tackles, one assisted tackle, one sack, one tackle for a loss, one quarterback hurry and one pass defensed; his 10 tackles against the Chiefs is tied for the most in team history for a rookie with Harrison Smith in 2012 and Malik Boyd in 1994. In week 7, Kendricks sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford twice, pressured him four times and registered six tackles, three of them for loss in the Vikings' 28-19 win against the Detroit Lions. 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.[14] Kendricks started his fourth straight game against the Chicago Bears in week 8 and finished with seven tackles. 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 1997 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.[15]

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 loss, in Minnesota’s 25-16 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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).[19]

Career statistics


Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Tfl PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR YDS TDs
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


Regular season statistics Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Season Team GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Sfty PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR FR YDS
2015 Minnesota Vikings 14 11 92 72 20 4.0 -- 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 Minnesota Vikings 5 5 36 21 15 0.0 -- 6 1 77 77.0 77 1 1 0 0
Totals 19 16 128 93 35 4.0 -- 7 1 77 77.0 77 1 1 0 0



Kendricks' brother, Mychal, currently plays as a middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.[3] Their father led the Bruins in rushing in 1970 and 1971.[3][21]


  1. Crumpacker, John (October 29, 2011). "Kendricks brothers on opposite sides in Cal-UCLA". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014.
  2. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 4 "Eric Kendricks Biography". 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. 1 2 "#11 KANSAS STATE VS. #14 UCLA GAME NOTES". 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. *Eric Kendricks | UCLA, ILB : 2015 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
  14. "Eric Kendricks Named Defensive Rookie of the Month". Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  15. 2015 PFWA All-Rookie Team
  16. Eric Kendricks comes up big for Vikings
  17. 3 Stats that Stood Out: Vikings at Titans
  18. Eric Kendricks Wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week
  19. Vikings defense forces Osweiler into awful game
  20. "Eric Kendricks Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  21. Boyles, Bob; Guido, Paul (2009). The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia 2009-2010. Skyhorse. p. 1317. ISBN 9781602396777. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
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