ESPN Claims Bills Should Trade for Vikings Veteran

Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Buffalo Bills helmets on the sidelines in the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Between Sunday evening and the following two weeks is the time for Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to decide if a trade or two is in order for his roster or if he believes the purple team can make something of the rough 2023 season.

The NFL’s trade deadline is October 31st.

ESPN Claims Bills Should Trade for Vikings Veteran

This week, ESPN recommended a couple of trades for the Vikings, as it evidently doesn’t believe the club will right the ship after a 1-4 start. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell theorized a swap with the Detroit Lions involving Danielle Hunter to the Vikings rival for EDGE rusher James Houston and a 2nd + 3rd-Round pick.

But that wasn’t the only theory from ESPN — Barnwell claimed Minnesota should send linebacker Jordan Hicks to the Buffalo Bills for a 5th-Rounder after a series of injuries hit Buffalo’s defense in recent weeks.

ESPN Claims Bills
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs the ball and is tackled by Minnesota Vikings inside linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Losing cornerback Tre’Davious White and linebacker Matt Milano to season-ending injuries in back-to-back games could sink the Bills, who can’t possibly hope to replace either star with the players available at this trade deadline. Unless the Broncos are willing to trade Pat Surtain — and the Bills are willing to send the multiple first-round picks it would take to get that deal completed — Buffalo is going to need to hope that 2022 first-rounder Kaiir Elam can go from healthy scratch to reliable starter on the fly,” Barnwell wrote about the Bills injury woes.

After that, he offered Hicks-to-Buffalo as a mini solution.

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers at Commanders, per PFF
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Barwell explained, “The 31-year-old Hicks has bounced around the league while starting for the Eagles, Cardinals and Vikings, giving him experience in a range of systems. He’s no match for Milano in coverage, but he is a sure tackler and an efficient run defender, something the Bills will need in their matchups within the AFC East down the stretch.”

Hicks has quietly balled out for the Vikings in 2023, patrolling the middle of Brian Flores’ new defense, along with upstart rookie Ivan Pace. Heading into Week 6, Hicks ranks sixth in the NFL among all inside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus, registering an 80.9 grade and helping to solidify the middle of Minnesota’s evolving defense. His counterpart, Pace, too, has made his mark, recording a 76.9 PFF score, good enough for 10th-best in the sport.

Vikings Retain Veteran
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

“Hicks is owed about $2.5 million in prorated money over the remainder of the season, but he would be a logical fit for Buffalo, given the paucity of options available,” Barnwell concluded about Hicks and the Bills defensive needs.

Hicks has turned back the clock to his younger self and is a bright spot in a Vikings defense that has struggled in early-season games versus the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers.

The odd part is that Hicks’ pass-rushing grade from PFF isn’t phenomenal. He’s scored 53.5 in that arena, with a 79.6 rush defense mark and 78.1 pass coverage grade. So, even though Flores’ defense preaches blitzing at a fiendish pace, Hicks is doing “the other stuff” at a high level. One might tend to think the grades would be reversed, but no cigar.

The Vikings 2022 Defense by the Numbers: After Week 3
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) and Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) in action during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A Hicks trade indeed makes sense on paper — but Vikings fans just have to wait and see if the organization enters a seller’s mode. There is still time to salvage the 2023 season, but it likely requires wins in two of the following three games or so.

Otherwise, Hicks will hit free agency in March.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by