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Minnesota Vikings 2022 Signings: Who is Jordan Hicks?

 In a new series reviewing the Minnesota Vikings 2022 signings, we will be profiling each of the new Vikings, reviewing their career to date, asking where they might fit into the roster and making some bold predictions on how their careers in purple will go.

It was no secret that the Minnesota Vikings roster needed significant changes. Whilst there are some positions which were in relatively good shape following the 2021 season, there were a lot of question marks regarding many others.

The new general manager in Minnesota, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, wasted little time in making some big moves. We start with former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Minnesota Vikings 2022 Signings Jordan Hicks
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Who is Jordan Hicks?

Jordan Hicks signed a two year contract with the Vikings on March 15th. The 29 year old was drafted by the Eagles with the 84th overall pick of the 2015 draft. In his 4 years as an Eagle, he totalled 254 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 6 fumble recoveries and 7 interceptions.

In March 2019 Hicks signed a 4-year $36m contract with the Arizona Cardinals, appearing in every game over each of the last 3 seasons. Hicks comfortably passed 100 tackles per year throughout his stint with the Cardinals, in addition to making 4 interceptions. One particular standout performance came in 2021 against another NFC North team in the Chicago Bears, where Hicks had 13 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 TFLs, a feat that earned him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in week 13.

Where will Jordan Hicks fit in to the Vikings?

Whilst linebacker didn't feel like one of the overwhelming needs for the Vikings heading into free agency, the fact that this was the first signing made does feel significant. With cap space at a premium, the 2 year, $10m contract handed to Hicks (cap hit of $3.5m in 2022) did puzzle some of us who maybe thought there were bigger issues to address first. However, as a potential leader on the defensive side of the ball Hicks could prove to be one of the more astute signings this offseason.

When analyzing the player recruitment so far, one theme does seem to reoccur - durability. The Vikings were heavily stung by injuries in 2020 and 2021 and Hicks hasn't missed a game through injury since his Eagles days. He is also almost certainly the prime candidate for the green dot this year on defence, a responsibility held for most of last season by Nick Vigil who, incidentally, will be Hicks replacement in Arizona.

So where will Jordan Hicks fit into the 2022 Vikings defence? This signing does play into the theory that Minnesota will be moving to a 3-4 defensive front, as Hicks is predominantly an inside linebacker who will hopefully take the spot next to fan favourite Eric Kendricks. Kendricks has passed the 100 tackle mark every season since 2016 and the onus will be on the tandem to help stop the run and plug some of the holes in what was one of the leakiest defences in 2021.

As previously mentioned, I don't think that Hicks is a like-for-like replacement for any of the departing players as his projected role didn't exist in the 2021 Vikings. The nearest comparison would be the aforementioned Nick Vigil, who had a PFF grade of 42.1 for the season. Hicks’ grade was 64.4 (30th out of all linebackers) and, whilst PFF grades are not entirely accurate, it does seem like the linebacker corps for 2022 will be much stronger than last year with Jordan Hicks on board.

How will Jordan Hicks fare in Minnesota?

Providing Hicks can remain healthy, it doesn't feel like a stretch to suggest he can pass the 100 tackle mark for a fourth successive season, in what is almost a "prove it" year (the Vikings would only incur $1.5m of dead cap if Jordan Hicks is cut in 2023). The pressure will be on Hicks to impress, and to stamp his authority into the Vikings defence. If he continues to be a solid contributor and can make the occasional splash play with a forced fumble or interception he will be a welcome addition to the 2022 Minnesota Vikings and a worthwhile signing indeed.