EAGAN, Minn. —
The NFL’due south New League Yr is on the horizon.

It officially begins at 3 p.g. (CT) on March 16, which means the 2022 edition of free bureau is also chop-chop approaching.

Vikings.com is providing a position-past-position outlook of Minnesota’s roster ahead of free bureau. We started with

quarterbacks

on Monday and continued Tuesday with

running backs and receivers
. On Wednesday, we covered

offensive linemen and tight ends
. Th brought a expect at the

defensive line
, so now we’ll take a await at linebackers.

The Vikings defense is expected to undergo changes brought past new Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell and could include more iii-four base principles than the 4-3 that Minnesota has used for years. This could atomic number 82 to some dissimilar responsibilities and usages of linebackers, every bit well every bit some increased opportunities for young players.



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Here’southward a look at which Vikings linebackers are scheduled to return or become free agents, Minnesota’southward potential needs, also equally notes on players from other teams that are set to go free agents.

LINEBACKERS

UNDER CONTRACT:

Tuf Borland, Ryan Connelly, Troy Dye, Eric Kendricks, Blake Lynch and Chazz Surratt

Borland, an undrafted rookie free agent concluding yr, was called up from the practice team for two games exclusively for special teams duties.

Connelly, the Eden Prairie native initially drafted by the Giants in 2019, has played 198 and 216 snaps on special teams in the past two seasons, respectively, for the Vikings.

A fourth-round choice in 2020, Dye played more on defense as a rookie (202 snaps) than in his second season (54 snaps) because the Vikings were healthier at linebacker. He played 367 special teams snaps in 2021.

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The new coaching staff has probably noticed Kendricks’ means of positively affecting the defense while they’ve used film to evaluate the roster. Kendricks is coming off a flavour with career bests in tackles (143) and sacks (v.0).

Lynch, who joined Minnesota as an undrafted rookie in 2020, started six games last season. Lynch recorded 2.0 sacks, forcing and recovering a fumble that helped Minnesota have a pb late at Detroit that didn’t stand.

Surratt is an intriguing question marking. He had the athleticism that led to his choice in the third round but hadn’t played much college football on the defensive side of the football. The former N Carolina quarterback only played 98 snaps (all on special teams) in his rookie season.


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SCHEDULED TO BECOME FREE AGENTS:

Anthony Barr (unrestricted gratuitous amanuensis)

2 months and two days ago, Barr’southward social media posts (and postgame press conference) indicated that he was budgeted Minnesota’s 2021 season finale as his last game in a Vikings uniform. Many thought Barr’s fourth dimension with the Vikings was going to cease when he hit free agency in spring 2019, simply he opted to return for less coin than the Jets offered.

Nick Vigil (unrestricted costless agent)

Acuity’due south signing was somewhat unheralded across the league, only he started 12 of the 16 games he played for Minnesota and recorded 85 tackles, a sack and returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown. Vigil likewise handled the defensive calls in games before Barr returned to action.

OUTLOOK:

Whatever conversation about Vikings linebackers since 2014 (Barr) and 2015 (Kendricks) has centered on the quondam UCLA teammates and roommates. The previous staff stood on the table from the offset with Barr, who was selected with the only top-10 pick the Vikings have had since 2013.

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New Head Coach Kevin O’Connell was asked a general question near the defence during his introductory press conference and included Barr and Kendricks in his response.

“Those guys accept long since been huge issues in this league for people defensively,” O’Connell said. “I think there’s means to use those guys and allow them to play with an attacking mindset while they’re still responsible for the things that they’re responsible for defensively.”

New General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was asked specifically almost Barr at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

“That’s an incredible person. Every solar day, I walk past his Human being of the Year [display in the team facility], and you lot think of Anthony Barr and what he’s meant to this community, to this squad,” Adofo-Mensah said. “When we all do these interviews for GM jobs, you look at the roster: ‘Anthony Barr, whoa, can nosotros work with him?’

“He’s incredibly versatile, especially in a three-4 scheme and things like that,” Adofo-Mensah said, going back to Barr’s days with the Bruins. “Again, it’due south the puzzle pieces, though. We’ve got a lot of things to consider, a lot of ways to go forrad. He’due south somebody I texted merely to, starting time and foremost, tell him I appreciated him and ‘I’1000 here and I’d dearest to hear your opinion,’ and things like that. But I can’t speak to more specific things than that correct now.”

Beyond that dynamic duo, which could be split if Barr isn’t here, the linebackers have room to grow with increased opportunities, and the Vikings could effort to add experienced depth via free agency or find bear upon players in the draft, or both.

WHO’Due south POTENTIALLY OUT There?

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal recently released his list of the

top 101

potential complimentary agents, with linebackers making the current group.

The following linebackers are listed in lodge of their overall rankings: 17. Bobby Wagner (MLB), nineteen. De’Vondre Campbell (ILB), 54. Barr (OLB), 67. Kyzir White (LB), 77. Foyesade Oluokun (LB), 91. Dont’a Hightower (LB), 96. Dante Fowler (OLB), 98. Leighton Vander Esch (OLB), 100. Jayon Dark-brown (ILB)

Wagner’s a half-dozen-fourth dimension selection to the All-Pro First Team and an eight-time Pro Bowler, but his 10-season run in Seattle just came to a shut with his release.

Campbell was part of Atlanta’s run to appear in Super Bowl LI every bit a rookie. The quondam Minnesota Gopher set a new career loftier with 146 tackles for the Packers terminal flavour in earning his first All-Pro designation. Oluokun, Campbell’south former Falcons teammate, led the NFL with 192 tackles and nabbed a career-best iii picks to stop his rookie deal.

Source: https://www.vikings.com/news/eric-kendricks-anthony-barr-2022-free-agency-linebackers