The Vikings Will Be Without a Key Defender in Week 11

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
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It wouldn’t be a week in the world of the Minnesota Vikings without a notable injury.

This past weekend was no different as all three of Akayleb Evans, Jordan Hicks, and Alexander Mattison left Week 10’s win over the New Orleans Saints because of injuries.

On top of Mattison likely being out next weekend because of his concussion, it appears that the Vikings will be without a key defender as Kevin O’Connell said on Monday that Hicks had to undergo a procedure to resolve his lower leg contusion.

Vikings Will Be Without a Key Defender in Week 11

The Vikings Will Be Without a Key Defender
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

O’Connell stated during his press conference, “We decided to get Jordan evaluated at a local hospital where he did need a procedure to address some of the complications from that direct trauma to his lower leg kind of to just relieve some of the pressure that was in there. He’s doing well today, but it is something that will more than likely cause him to miss at least this week.”

Hicks signed with the Vikings prior to the 2022 season, and after a bit of an underwhelming first year with the team, he has absolutely thrived under Brian Flores’ scheme in 2023. He has recorded 87 total tackles this season, including 4 tackles for loss and a sack, along with 4 passes defended, an interception, and a pair of fumble recoveries.

The veteran linebacker has been one of Minnesota’s go-to playmakers on defense throughout the year because of his prowess in the blitz and rediscovered abilities in pass coverage.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Without Hicks in the lineup, the Vikings will likely rely more on rookie UDFA Ivan Pace as they did for much of their Week 10 game against the Saints. Like the veteran, Pace has proven that he can have a profound impact with his blitzing ability while also showing improvements in coverage as the season has worn on.

Minnesota can also give some snaps to Troy Dye, who has been with the team since being a fourth-round pick in 2020 but has yet to grab a big role in the defense with the emergence of Hicks and Pace. Dye played a season-high 16 snaps with the defense on Sunday, which will likely increase again this upcoming weekend.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Sean Tucker (44) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Asamoah could also be in the mix, but the second-year player has missed multiple games himself due to injury. Regardless of who gets the majority of snaps at the linebacker position, the Vikings defense as a whole will need to play a very strong game to defeat a Denver Broncos offense that has started coming to life over the past month.

The Broncos and Vikings are slated to kick things off on Sunday, November 19th at 7:20 PM Central in Denver.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.