Vikings Veteran Says Goodbye

John Madden Coming to U.S. Bank Stadium on Thanksgiving
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

A handful of Minnesota Vikings players have left the organization this week, and one took the time to say goodbye on social media.

Vikings Veteran Says Goodbye

He’s Jordan Hicks, the newest member of the Cleveland Browns. The veteran linebacker signed on Cleveland’s dotted line for two years and $8 million, on tap to improve an already mighty Browns defense.

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.

On his way out, he tweeted a bon voyage to Minnesota, “The last two years in Minnesota have been an absolute blessing for not only myself, but for our entire family. I’m grateful for my teammates, coaches, staff, and all the friends we met along the way. Thank you for everything, Minnesota 💜 Here’s to the next chapter!”

Here’s the tweet in the flesh:

Cleveland has been a prevalent destination for former Vikings lately, with men like Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, and now Hicks heading to Ohio. The Browns are coached by Kevin Stefanksi, who worked for the Vikings from 2006 to 2019 in various capacities.

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Hicks was injured in a win over the New Orleans Saints last November, and rookie linebacker Ivan Pace slid into a captain role accordingly. Troy Dye and Anthony Barr manned other linebacking snaps during Hicks’ absence and remain free agents.

These are the Browns’ off-ball linebackers with Hicks on the roster:

  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
  • Tony Fields II
  • Jordan Hicks
  • Charlie Thomas
  • Mohamoud Diabate
  • Caleb Johnson

The new Brown will vie for a starter’s job, assuming the Browns don’t sign any additional big-name linebackers, and might even grab the job from Fields II. Hicks registered 107 total tackles in 13 games last year for the Vikings, markedly improving from 2022 to 2023 under defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

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Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 5 of the 2015 NFL Draft, Hicks spent four years in Philadelphia, three in Arizona with the Cardinals, and the last two with the Vikings. He became a fan-favorite last year because of his phenomenal play and was among the league’s Top 20 linebackers per Pro Football Focus before his injury. He was sidelined for about a month with compartment syndrome, a frightening ailment that pumped the brakes on an otherwise wonderful campaign.

Hicks joins a playoff contender in Cleveland, too. The Browns ranked No. 1 in the NFL per EPA/Play in 2023, featuring one the best defenses in the sport from the last decade per the metric. The unit even carried quarterback Joe Flacco to the point where many believed Flacco was the special sauce for Cleveland’s playoff push.

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The Vikings signed Eden Prairie native Blake Cashman on Monday — Hicks’ replacement.

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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