A Viking no more, Former Bruin Star LB Eric Kendricks Returns to SoCA (AP/Abbie Parr)

The Los Angeles Chargers and ex-Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks agreed to a two-year deal worth $13.25M. Kendricks, 31, played for the Vikings for eight seasons and was named to the 2019 Pro Bowl and First-team AP All-Pro. Kendricks was a second-round selection in the 2015 NFL draft.

A prolific middle defensive linebacker, Kendricks has posted seven straight 100-tackle seasons, a statistic Bolt fans hope will continue to grow now that he is back in SoCal.

With the Vikings, Kendricks started in 113 regular season games. He has over 900 tackles, 54 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, nine interceptions, 51 passes defended, and three touchdowns. He will join a talented Charger team, lining up with Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Derwin James on defense and guided by a talented quarterback, Justin Herbert. Head coach Brandon Staley must be thrilled at what Kendricks can add to a team that made the playoffs last year and hopes to run it back and take it further.

“I want to be a silent leader and lead by example,” Kendricks said when asked about joining the Chargers.

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In 2020, Kendricks was named the Vikings nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Kendricks is known for his leadership on the field and his commitment to community service in the Twin Cities.

“This award wasn’t something I sought after. There were times when I needed help when I was younger, and people helped me. So now I try to help people as much as I can. We are all people who want the same basic things that everybody wants. When you think about other people in that way, that we are all a lot more alike than different, good comes from that,” said Kendricks.

Kendricks Joins Bolts Defense (Courtesy Photo)

If his name sounds familiar, let me remind you why:

Kendricks played football for the UCLA Bruins from 2011-2014. He was the Bruin’s first winner of the Butkus Award and UCLA’s second winner of the Lott Trophy award. Kendricks was UCLA’s all-time leading tackler and, in 2014, was the first in the nation in solo tackles. In 2012, Kendricks had 150 tackles and ranked third on the all-time school list.

Returning to California is coming home for Kendricks, who grew up in Clovis, about 228 miles from SoFi Stadium. His outstanding defensive play is in his DNA. His Dad, Horace (Marv) Kendricks, played for the Bruins leading the team in rushing in 1970 and 1971 and would go on to play in the Canadian Football League. His brother Mychal played collegiately for the California Golden Bears. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, Mychal Kendricks played on the winning Eagles Super Bowl LII team.

For Eric Kendricks, California has his heart:

“Cali is where my heart is at. But at the end of the day, I wanted to play with a good squad and a good quarterback. I know the foundation here is amazing,” Kendricks said.