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What We’ve Heard - Linebacker Edition

OTAs and mini-camp over, the Minnesota Vikings linebackers are set up for training camp.

Minnesota Vikings - Linebackers
A look at the Minnesota Vikings linebacker corps
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

OTA’s and minicamp are in the books. We are now await that five-week dead time prior to the start of training camp at Mankato. And as usual, the only news that comes up during that time tends to be bad, but this is not about that, this is about the linebackers. The Vikings presently have 9 of them on the 90 man roster. Going into the 2017 season we fully suspect that Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are locked in as starters at the Sam and Mike positions. The way they performed in their young careers, there is no reason to believe otherwise. The real battle in camp will be for Chad Greenway’s old spot at the Will. Current competition seems to be between Edmond Robinson and Emmanuel Lamur.

Luft Krigare’s post OTAs and mini-camp forecasted depth chart for Vikings linebackers.
Minnesota Vikings Linebacker corps
Graphic by Luft Krigare

So what have we heard in the last few weeks?

News on Anthony Barr has been mostly silent, with the exception back in late May that he was practicing with his right wrist taped up and in a brace. This was an injury he sustained last season and that all of us the suspected would be fine by now.

Signs of continuing wrist issues remain with Anthony Barr
Anthony Barr wearing a wrist brace in OTAs

There was not much other news in the way of hype, nor in the way of disparaging comments, and it was overall pretty quiet on his front.

Eric Kendricks, who is second pass breakups last year in the league at linebacker, seems to continue with his improvement. He showed massive improvement last year to offset a puzzling and injury related decline of his partner Anthony Barr.

PFF had shown Eric Kendricks as their #28 LB in the league for 2016.
Eric Kendricks greatly improved last season per Pro Football Focus

Emmanuel Lamur at the beginning of OTA’s was held out for some undisclosed injury and he didn’t get on the field until the last couple weeks. This gave Edmond Robinson the head start, and from all the comments he seems to be winning that competition at the moment. This one however, will not be decided until we get pads on, and they can start to go full speed and actually hit people during games.

Robinson, who has lined up next to Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks with the first-team defense for much of the offseason program, is aiming for the starting spot vacated by the retired Chad Greenway. The third-year linebacker and Emmanuel Lamur took reps with the first team base defense on Tuesday.

Robinson impressed Tuesday by leaping up to knock away a pass inside the 10-yard line in a red zone drill.

Robinson saved his best for later by perfectly reading a Taylor Heinicke pass, corralling the interception and racing the other way. —- Eric Smith,

There are two more linebackers of note, fourth-round selection Ben Gedeon, and seventh rounder Elijah Lee.

KFAN reports Mike Zimmer’s comments on Ben Gedeon ability to move spots
Mike Zimmer commenting on Ben Gedeon

There are anticipations of Gedeon making the final roster, and Lee is hoping to via special teams.

The big question will be whether the Vikings will keep 5, 6, or 7 linebackers on the roster. Last year they kept 6. The special-teams stand out, Kentrell Brothers figures into that mix too.

Who do you think will win the 3rd starting spot and who will make the final roster?