Vikings Retain Veteran Linebacker

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.

Monday marked the beginning of the NFL’s free agency week, and the Minnesota Vikings kicked off the festivities with a contractual restructure.

After releasing linebacker Eric Kendricks one week ago, a different defender will remain with the team in 2023 — Jordan Hicks.

Vikings Retain Veteran Linebacker

Hicks, 30, was a free-agent addition last offseason and appears ready to return for a sequel.

Vikings Retain Veteran
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL insider Adam Caplan tweeted Monday, “Vikings and veteran ILB Jordan Hicks have agreed to restructure his contract to keep him with the team for another season, source said.”

Hicks started all 17 games for the Vikings in 2022, tabulating 129 total tackles, 10 passes defended, 3 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 1 forced fumble. He previously played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. He fired up a 66.7 Pro Football Focus grade last season, ranking 34th among all NFL off-ball linebackers. His score outshined the aforementioned Kendricks (60.1) by a smidgen.

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The move to keep Hicks is a bit of a curveball for Vikings fans, as some speculated the Texas alumnus could be a cap casualty. Hicks wasn’t a totally dazzling performer in 2022, instead a sturdy defender who held his own. Releasing Hicks would’ve saved the Vikings $5 million in much-needed cap space.

But Hicks will be back, assuming he wins summer camp battles against unnamed personalities, alongside second-year defender Brian Asamoah. The cutting of ties with Kendricks suggested Asamoah will be on deck for a starting job in 2023, and the retention of Hicks does little to dampen that forecast.

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The Vikings were expected to explore the open free-agent market this week for another off-ball linebacker, perhaps a player like Devin Bush from the Pittsburgh Steelers or David Long from the Tennesee Titans. Re-upping with Hicks doesn’t rule out the option of an additional linebacker, but it might bump the position lower down the roster-need totem pole.

In February, former Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores took over the Vikings defense following Ed Donatell’s termination. Flores’ specialty is linebackers, linebackers, and more linebackers. So, with Hicks back in the saddle, Flores and the Vikings evidently believe he can be a solution in 2023.

Minnesota could also draft an off-ball linebacker in April. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has five draft picks at the moment, and rookies like Trenton Simpson and Drew Sanders have tempting scouting reports.

Financial details of the Hicks’ restructure were not immediately available. The team was over the cap by $7.4 million as of Monday morning before the Hicks’ agreement.

Hicks will turn 31 in June.


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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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

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