Vikings LB Jordan Hicks Restructures His Contract to Remain with Team

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Well, it appears that at least one Minnesota Vikings veteran will remain on the team in 2024. Vikings LB Jordan Hicks came to an agreement on Monday to restructure his contract, keeping the linebacker in Minnesota for at least one more season as first reported by Adam Caplan.

Hicks was a free agency acquisition in 2022 to help shore up the linebacker position as part of Ed Donatell’s new 3-4 defense after spending the previous three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Before that, he spent his first four years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles following being the 84th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Vikings defense in 2022 was a massive disappointment, allowing the third-most points and second-most total yards over the course of the season. There were troubles up and down the defense, but much of the blame fell on the shoulders of the linebacking duo of Hicks and Eric Kendricks.

Vikings LB Jordan Hicks
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) gestures after recovering a fumble by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not shown) during their game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

Kendricks became a cap casualty last week, saving the Vikings a total of $9.5 million against the salary cap, and Hicks’ restructure should give significant relief from his $6.5 million cap hit.

The move to keep Hicks while getting rid of Kendricks may come as a surprise, but our own Kyle Joudry predicted that this could happen just over a month ago. His reasoning behind keeping Hicks around is rather simple: Hicks is a ferocious blitzer when utilized in that role.

“Hicks blitzed 17 times last season, an average of once per game,” Joudry wrote. “Previously, he blitzed 86 times (2019), 89 times (2020), and 49 times (2021). Quite often, the best coaches are the ones who lean into their players’ strengths. Identify what a player can do at a high level and then allow the player to do that. Should Hicks have been sent on way more blitzes?

Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is pressured by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (97) and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) at State Farm Stadium. Nfl Green Bay Packers At Arizona Cardinals

Our man Joudry continued, “By the end of the season, Jordan Hicks finished as the 34th linebacker on PFF. He had an 80.2 run defense grade, the 12th-best grade out of the 85 who are considered. His 71.5 pass-rush grade comes in at 15th. It’s his coverage grade – 52.5 – where he struggled. More than 76% of passes into his coverage went for completions.”

This is certainly some sound reasoning. Especially considering a Brian Flores defense should use its linebackers as blitzers far more often than once per game, Hicks could be another player to blossom in that role.

Additionally, this keeps a veteran linebacker in the room to help younger players like Brian Asamoah who don’t have starting experience yet. The pairing of Asamoah and Hicks could be a physically imposing duo at linebacker, and if it works out, fans will be treated to a much more exciting defense in 2023.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. 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.