Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, it appears that the Minnesota Vikings have some questions to answer at the linebacker position. With the retirement of Chad Greenway, the unit will definitely have a different look going into this next season, but we know that they have a couple of solid pieces there to work with.
Here’s a look at who the Vikings currently have manning the linebacker position, according to the roster on the team’s official website.
Stepping Up - Eric Kendricks
In his second NFL season, Kendricks displayed why he was such a steal when the Vikings drafted him in the second round in 2016. He has the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline, and his play in coverage improved dramatically from his rookie season. A true three-down linebacker that can handle just about anything, Kendricks has given himself the opportunity to be a centerpiece of this defense for years to come.
Stepping Back - Anthony Barr
In 2015, Anthony Barr was on the verge of becoming one of the NFL’s better playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. However, whether it was because of injuries or whatever, he took a significant step back in 2016. He was missing tackles and found himself frequently out of position. The team is likely going to pick up his fifth-year option here in a few days, and if the Vikings’ defense is to continue the trajectory they were on last season, then Barr needs to get back to the form of his first two seasons.
Looking For A Shot - Edmond Robinson
Of the linebackers on the Vikings’ roster right now, the one that might stand to benefit the most from Greenway’s departure is Robinson. After getting a start or two in 2015 after an injury to Barr, he was reduced to mostly special teams work last season. Still, the team seems to like him quite a bit, and he could have an opportunity to take over Greenway’s spot on the weakside if the team wants to keep Kendricks at middle linebacker.
An Increased Role? - Kentrell Brothers
The only Vikings’ rookie that made any sort of actual contribution in 2016, Brothers was a special teams monster last season. If the team has designs on potentially moving Kendricks into Greenway’s old weakside linebacker position, Brothers could be a potential fit at the middle linebacker spot. He looks like a classic two-down middle linebacker that may have some issues in coverage, but Barr and Kendricks are going to handle all the sub-package work anyway.
Undefined - Emmanuel Lamur
Lamur signed with the Vikings as a free agent last season, and I honestly can’t remember one thing that he did all season. I don’t think he saw a whole lot of time, and I can’t imagine that he’s locked into a roster spot by any stretch of the imagination. He might have an opportunity to compete for more time as well, but I can’t imagine that he’s ahead of Robinson in the eyes of the coaching staff.
Those are all of the linebackers the Vikings list on their roster at the present time. At some point today, we’ll take a look at some of the potential prospects that the team could draft to fill out the roster at the position.