The Vikings have agreed to terms on a new deal with strong safety Andrew Sendejo, a source confirmed. The contract, when signed, will be a four-year deal worth $16 million, according to NFL Network.
Sendejo was set to become an unrestricted free agent when the league year starts Wednesday. But the Vikings moved to keep him off the market.
Sendejo won the starting job over Robert Blanton before the season opener and started 14 games for the Vikings in 2015, including playoffs. He made 74 tackles, recorded one interception and broke up three passes.
In five seasons in Minnesota, Sendejo has played in 63 games, starting 26 of them. He has made 194 tackles with the Vikings with two interceptions.
The new deal comes a little over a week after coach Mike Zimmer said that the Vikings were looking for the “right” safety to play alongside free safety Harrison Smith, who made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2015.
“I think that if Harrison Smith was paired with a guy that had some other qualities, we could allow Harrison to be more of an impactful player,” Zimmer said at the NFL scouting combine. “I think Harrison can be more impactful if he had the right kind of guy next to him.”
While Sendejo has been a solid special-teams player when asked to help out there, the Vikings will reportedly be paying him $4 million a year, an annual rate that would rank 24th among NFL safeties. It is unclear if that means they won’t look to add a big-money safety in free agency.
Sendejo’s deal could also mean that Blanton’s days in Minnesota are up.
The Vikings also agreed to a one-year deal with nose tackle Kenrick Ellis. A midseason pickup, Ellis played nine games for the Vikings in 2015 and recorded five tackles.