By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings announced Thursday that linebacker Eric Kendricks has been named the team’s nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf says that Kendricks has proven to be a great player, but an even better man.

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“The need for community involvement has never been greater, and Eric has accepted that challenge and led by his thoughts, words and actions. We are honored to have Eric as our Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee,” Wilf said.

According to the team, Kendricks has been a key member of the Vikings Social Justice Committee since 2018 and has made a “tremendous” difference in 2020, including work after the death of George Floyd.

“Following the killing of George Floyd, he sat down with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to better understand the problems our community is facing and help facilitate change. Kendricks has spoken to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss how the League and players can work together to achieve social justice and has used his platform to inspire others and help be the change in our community,” the team said.

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Kendricks says he feels blessed to accept the nomination.

“This is something I didn’t do alone, and I appreciate all of my teammates who are out in the community with me and trying to make positive changes in the world,” Kendricks said. “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.”

Kendricks will now wear a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year decal on his helmet throughout the end of the season.

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The award will be announced during NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air the week of Super Bowl LV, on CBS.