Vikings Could Get Star Veteran Defender Back Soon

ESPN Claims Bills
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Wide receiver Justin Jefferson and cornerback Akayleb Evans should return to the Minnesota Vikings’ lineup this weekend.

But that’s not the only positive development.

Vikings Could Get Star Veteran Defender Back Soon

Veteran linebacker Jordan Hicks could be back before too long after missing the last two games with compartment syndrome. The defender will be eligible to return on Christmas Eve at home versus the Detroit Lions, and it sounds like a quasi-real possibility.

Get Star Veteran
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted Tuesday, “LB Jordan Hicks (compartment syndrome/shin) has been in meetings and around the Vikings’ team facility, DC Brian Flores said, and there is some optimism that he’ll be able to return to the field before the end of the regular season.”

Hicks was injured in a win over the New Orleans Saints, and undrafted rookie linebacker Ivan Pace slid into a full-time role accordingly. Troy Dye and Anthony Barr have manned other linebacking snaps during Hicks’ absence.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings’ defense fundamentally turned around following a shoddy start and hit its groove after losing to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. Hicks’ performance was a central part of the about-face. In fact, when Hicks hit injured reserve, the Vikings began losing again, dropping back-to-back matchups to the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. Minnesota’s woes in those two losses were mostly on offense, but if Hicks can return, the defense will only continue its stellar improvement.

Hicks seemed optimistic about his recovery in mid-November. He posted on social media on November 14th, “Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me the past few days and for all of your continued prayers. The surgery was a huge success and I’m grateful for all of the doctors, nurses and medical staff who treated me. Looking forward to getting back out there with the guys soon!”

Here is the full tweet:

Before the injury, Pro Football Focus classified Hicks as the NFL’s 19th-best linebacker through 10 weeks, not bad for a 31-year-old veteran. Hicks ranks 18th leaguewide after Week 13.

Vikings Retain Veteran
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

He’s tallied 87 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 passes defended, a sack, a touchdown, and a forced fumble in 2023 — damn near a Pro Bowl pace before the IR trip.

When Hicks was lost to injury, the Vikings were 6-4 and in the driver’s seat to reach the playoffs, but after two losses, the playoff math has settled around 50%. Minnesota must win this Sunday at Las Vegas or risk getting passed by the Green Bay Packers or Los Angeles Rams in the NFC’s playoff hunt.

Aspect of Vikings
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings’ defense ranks eighth in the NFL per EPA/Play as of December 5th.

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