The Vikings truly have a "two-tier" roster, as General Manager Rick Spielman has described, when it comes to linebackers. Aside from the top two investments in Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, the Vikings have fortified them with a fourth-round pick in Ben Gedeon and a handful of late-round and undrafted prospects. There are players who could surprise at the bottom of the depth chart.

At the top, Barr is awaiting a contract extension while entering the final year of his rookie deal (an NFL-leading $12.306 million salary this season for 4-3 outside linebackers).

"If there's something there, [my agent] will run it by me. I'm making $12 million this year, man, I can't complain. I'm coming to work, working hard," Barr said last month. "I've done all I can do to prove my worth. Hopefully they see that."

Kendricks is looking to tie the Vikings' franchise record by leading the team in tackles each of his first four seasons. Rip Hawkins first did so from 1961 to '64.

ANDREW KRAMMER