Vikings Defender Heads to Cleveland

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Jordan Hicks era in Minnesota is over.

Vikings Free Agent News: Popular Defender Heads to Cleveland

It lasted two years, and Hicks will now become a Cleveland Brown, according to ESPN. Adam Schefter tweeted on Monday night, the first day of free agency, “Former Vikings LB Jordan Hicks is signing a 2-year, $8 million deal with the Browns, per source.”

Vikings Free Agent News
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Cleveland has been a popular destination for former Vikings lately, with men like Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, and now Hicks heading southeasterly. The Browns are also coached by Kevin Stefanksi, who worked for the Vikings from 2006 to 2019.

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

Prominent Viking Nearing
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Minnesota signed Blake Cashman from the Houston Texans on Monday, signaling the end for Hicks in purple. As of March 11th at 8:00 pm CST, these are the Vikings’ inside linebackers under contract for 2024 without Hicks:

  • Ivan Pace Jr.
  • Blake Cashman
  • Brian Asamoah
  • William Kwenkeu
  • Abraham Beauplan

And the Browns’ off-ball linebackers with Hicks in the house:

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

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

One That Got Away
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Chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 5 of the 2015 NFL Draft, Hicks spent four seasons in Philadelphia, three in Arizona with the Cardinals, and the last two in Minnesota. He became a fan-favorite last year because of his stellar 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 scary ailment that stifled his 2023 momentum.

Hicks joins a contender in Cleveland — and one known for defense. The Browns ranked No. 1 in the NFL per EPA/Play in 2023, featuring one the best defenses in the NFL from the last decade per the metric. The group even carried quarterback Joe Flacco, so much so that many believed Flacco was the special sauce for Cleveland’s playoff push.

5 Pending Vikings
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The Browns also made headlines on Sunday by trading for former Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Hicks will turn 32 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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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