Before the Vikings made the splash and grabbed Za’Darius Smith from the Packers, they did sign another linebacker. On March 15th the Vikings signed veteran linebacker Jordan Hicks. Hicks spent the last three seasons in Arizona, and four years before that in Philadelphia. Minnesota has been trying to fill those holes in the defense, and with them swapping to a 3-4 scheme, Hicks should play a part in the middle. He has specialized as a middle linebacker his entire career and has had great success doing so.
College In The Lonestar State
Hicks attended college in Texas from 2010-to 2014 where he had a great career despite missing most of two seasons. As a Longhorn Hicks put up a total of 248 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. As mentioned, Hicks did miss most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injury. The injuries did happen to be different, but it is something to note since they can linger. Hicks ended up injuring his hip in 2012. In 2013 it was a far more devastating injury when he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Although it was a bad injury, Hicks came back in 2014 stronger than ever. In his senior year alone he recorded 116 total tackles. Those numbers are what ultimately led him to be a valuable draft pick in the NFL.
Drafted By The Eagles
Hicks would go on to enter the NFL draft after his senior year in 2014. It would be the Philadelphia Eagles that would draft him, and they did so in the 3rd round. Hicks had a good career in Philadelphia but was again riddled with injury problems. In his four seasons with the Eagles, Hicks had two major injuries. One that resulted in his status landing on the IR, and the other making him miss five weeks of the regular season. Of the two injuries, one did happen to be a re-injury of his Achilles.
Although he did miss time, Hicks managed to put up good numbers. In his time there Hicks started in 40 games. In those games, he recorded 181 solo tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, six fumble recoveries, and seven interceptions. The interceptions are what stand out the most. If you have a ball hawk middle linebacker, your defense is in business. Ultimately Hicks would leave Philadelphia and head West.
Defense In The Desert
Following his time with the Eagles, Hicks would be signed by the Cardinals in Arizona. Hicks spent three years with the Cardinals and had the best seasons of his career so far. In those three seasons, Hicks never missed a game. He was a key piece of that defense and without question the leader. He started in all 49 games from 2019-to 2021 and his impact wouldn’t be denied. While playing in Arizona Hicks recorded 246 solo tackles, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. At the end of 2021, the Arizona Cardinals would not re-sign Hicks and he would enter free agency.
Donning The Purple And Gold
We obviously wouldn’t be here talking about Jordan Hicks if he wasn’t now on the Vikings. As mentioned, before singing Smith the Vikings signed Hicks. The contract he received was a two-year, $10 million deal with $6.5 million guaranteed. Hick will assume his middle linebacker role in the 3-4 defense. That pairs him up alongside Eric Kendricks. With Anthony Barr still unsigned and the genuine possibility of him leaving, Hicks is a key addition. As Kendricks continues to be one of the best middle linebackers in the game, it is great to see the Vikings adding another high-profile linebacker for the middle. The truth is, Hicks should have an immediate impact on this team. General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah keeps making moves that seem to be approved by fans. If he continues to add great players to this defense, I’ve said before that they could reach that elite status again.