Vikings Work Out Athletic Linebacker

Aug 12, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Raymond Johnson III (69) and linebacker Clarence Hicks (50) sack Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (16) in the fourth quarter at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have been busy trying to improve the roster. Offensive guard Dalton Risner, cornerback Ronald Darby and running back Kareem Hunt – three veterans – all visited the purple team in recent weeks. They also signed former first-round receiver N’Keal Harry to the roster. A new linebacker could be the next acquisition.

Vikings Work Out Athletic Linebacker

Vikings Work Out Athletic Linebacker
Cincinnati Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons talks with Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Clarence Hicks (50) during Cincinnati Bengals training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Aug 4 0591

The Vikings’ latest workout was with linebacker Clarence Hicks, a 2022 undrafted rookie, according to Aaron Wilson on Twitter. Hicks shares the position designation as a linebacker and the last name with starter Jordan Hicks but not much besides that as he is a smaller defender at 6’1″ and 225 lbs but possesses excellent speed. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash with equally impressive 10-yard and 20-yard splits.

Hicks signed with the Cincinnati Bengals after going undrafted in 2022 but he failed to make their 53-man roster, now hoping for a second chance with the Vikings. Playing in three preseason contests in 2022, Hicks managed to put up one sack.

Nov 2, 2019; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon (2) runs after a catch while being pursued by UTSA Roadrunners defensive end Clarence Hicks (59) during the fourth quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

In three seasons at UTSA, the linebacker recorded 12.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss. He actually turned into a quite fearsome pass-rusher, having 10.5 of his sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss in his final collegiate season.

The 24-year-old played for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL during their 2023 campaign, recording a couple of sacks and 21 tackles in 10 games. His team went 7-3 but lost to the DC Defenders – with Vikings players Abram Smith and Lucky Jackson – in the playoffs.

Prior to his workout in Minnesota, the linebacker tried out for the Cleveland Browns where he met some former Vikings, most notably defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith, and head coach Kevin Stafanski.

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Clarence Hicks (50) and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Tegray Scales (45) participate in drills during a joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, at the Paycor Stadium practice fields in Cincinnati. Los Angeles Rams At Cincinnati Bengals Joint Practice Aug 24 0039 summed up the prospect in the pre-draft process: “Outside linebacker with deficient size who plays on the ball as a rusher and as an overhang. Hicks beats bigger blockers with his springy straight-line athleticism and is comfortable as a spot dropper. His close-quarter quickness and fluidity are below average and he has poor eyes. Hicks projects as a developmental 3-4 outside linebacker who can offer versatility to a defense. To make a roster, he has to improve his tackling and become more reliable at processing.”

He will face tough competition from pass-rushers in Minnesota, as that is one of the team’s strongest positions, especially since Danielle Hunter returned to the practice field. The current rostered Vikings’ outside linebackers:

  • Danielle Hunter
  • Marcus Davenport
  • D.J. Wonnum
  • Patrick Jones
  • Luiji Vilain
  • Benton Whitley
  • Andre Carter
  • Curtis Weaver

If Hicks indeed joins the purple team, he will be a longshot to make the final 53-man roster but could be a practice squad candidate to see if his intriguing athleticism can turn into something productive.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt