Vikings Lose Key Defender, at Least for a Week

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Stop if you’ve read this before: The Minnesota Vikings will lose a player to injury.

So far in 2023, the Vikings have lost Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Marcus Davenport, and Cam Akers, among others, to various forms of injury, and heading into a Week 11 date with the Denver Broncos, the trend isn’t over.

Vikings Lose Key Defender, at Least for a Week

Barring a forecast change, Minnesota will likely be without staring off-ball linebacker Jordan Hicks at Denver.

Lose Key Defender
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The Athletic’s Alec Lewis tweeted Monday afternoon, “Vikings LB Jordan Hicks underwent a procedure last night to relieve the pressure to his lower leg, according to KOC. It’s something that’ll likely force him to miss at least this week.”

Without aforementioned players like Cousins and Jefferson but with Hicks, the Vikings knocked off the New Orleans Saints in Week 10, extending the current winning streak to five games. The franchise will hope to run the tally to six wins, although losing Hicks is a damning development.

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Reservist linebacker Brian Asamoah, a 3rd-Round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, may be on deck as Hicks’ immediate replacement, but Asamoah has — you guessed it — battled an injury, as well, an ankle ailment that has limited his possible playing time in recent weeks. Asamoah was not active in Week 10.

If Hicks and Asamoah are out, Minnesota would lean on veteran Troy Dye, who played 16 defensive snaps against New Orleans.

Aspect of Vikings
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Thankfully, undrafted standout linebacker Ivan Pace is healthy, so the club isn’t totally down to nubbins at the position. Some combo of Pace + Asamoah or Pace + Dye should patrol the middle of the defense on Sunday Night Football versus the Broncos.

Before the showdown at the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, the Broncos offense ranks 15th leaguewide per DVOA, so even though Sean Payton’s team owns a crummy 3-5 record, the offense is no pushover.

Keeping Jordan Hicks Is a Smart Move by Vikings
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) against Green Bay Packers during their football game on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. © Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings will assuredly feel Hicks’ absence. Behind safety Camryn Bynum with an 85.3 Pro Football Focus grade, Hicks’ 76.7 score ranks second among all Vikings defenders. In fact, PFF classifies Hicks as the NFL’s 19th-best linebacker through 10 weeks, not bad for a 31-year-old veteran.

Hicks accepted a small paycut to remain in Minnesota this season and is scheduled to hit free agency in four months. The injury is not considered serious, and Hicks should return in Week 12 or 13.

Minnesota is an early 2.5-point underdog heading into Denver.

Hicks has tallied 87 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 passes defended, a sack, a touchdown, and a forced fumble in 2023. Veteran Nick Vigil is another reservist option at linebacker.

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).

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