Vikings Open Practice Window for Defensive Starter Ahead of Pivotal Week 16 Matchup

Track for Defensive
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have been dealing with multiple injuries throughout the 2023 season.

One of those injuries has been to defensive starter Jordan Hicks, who has been on injured reserve for the past four weeks because of a lower leg contusion that required an operation to reduce the swelling in his shin.

On Monday, head coach Kevin O’Connell announced that the Vikings are opening the 21-day practice window for Hicks, which gives him the opportunity to make a return down the stretch of the season.

Vikings Open Practice Window for Defensive Starter Jordan Hicks

Defensive Starter
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings tweeted on Monday afternoon, “Head Coach Kevin O’Connell announces that Jordan Hicks’ 21-day practice window will start this week.”

Hicks suffered his lower leg contusion during Minnesota’s Week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints. After needing a procedure to relieve the pressure in his shin, the Vikings placed the veteran linebacker on IR, and he was promptly replaced by Ivan Pace in the starting lineup, who has thrived in a starting role.

The Vikings also opted to bring back Anthony Barr, who has helped fill in at the position, while Troy Dye’s snaps have increased as well.

Vikings Retain Veteran
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hicks had seen a rejuvenated presence in the Vikings defense prior to his injury, recording 87 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, a sack, 4 passes defended, an interception, a forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries over the first 10 games of the season.

Hicks’ versatility in Flores’ scheme has allowed him to thrive in multiple roles. The linebacker has blitzed a ton this year, but he has also taken major steps forward in his pass coverage abilities as well. His PFF grade of 72.6 in coverage is the highest of his career since 2018 when he was still with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Considering Minnesota has three divisional games remaining on their schedule, a return for Hicks could be coming at the perfect time. This weekend, the Vikings hope to keep their hopes of winning a second consecutive NFC North title alive as they take on the 10-4 Detroit Lions.

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.

After this weekend, Minnesota is set to take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 before another showdown with the Lions that could be for the NFC North title if things work out in Minnesota’s favor over the next couple weeks before the new year arrives.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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