Eric Kendricks named NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month

Published Oct. 29, 2015 10:55 a.m. ET

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, a second-round pick out of UCLA in this year's draft, has made a quick transition to the professional game. He has taken over Minnesota's starting middle linebacker duties, as the Vikings have fielded one of the toughest defenses across the league.

The NFL recognized Kendricks for his early contributions by naming him Defensive Rookie of the Month on Thursday.

Opponents have scored an average of 17 points per game against the Vikings (tied for second-fewest in NFL), and Kendricks efforts have a lot to do with that stingy rate. He has 35 tackles and four sacks on the season, both of which rank second on the team.

Kendricks, 23, started working in as a nickel linebacker before earning the job, so his athleticism in space has always been known. His all-around ability, including his pass rush, has been a pleasant surprise for the Vikings so far.