A Final Goodbye? Vikings Starter Points Toward Next Steps in Social Media Post

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, yes, the speculation that can derive from fairly vague social media posts. At times, a fool’s errand. At other times (Mr. Diggs), a genuine precursor to some sort of substantive action.

What should we do with what Jordan Hicks recently had to say? The Vikings starter flourished within the Brian Flores defense but he’s entering free agency if a new deal doesn’t get sorted out. Hicks sent along this thought: “Not the ending we wanted, but I’m thankful for it all.” After an emoji, the veteran defender then proclaims that it’s time to get “back to work.” Is that work going to be in Minnesota?

Vikings Starter Hints at Next Steps in Social Media Post

Working under Ed Donatell didn’t go perfectly.

The linebacker who thrives when he’s allowed to come forward aggressively was too often asked to play more restrained football. Under Flores, no such hindrances existed. His 17 blitzes in 17 games with Donatell transformed into 89 blitzes in 13 games with Flores.

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) and linebacker Nick Vigil (right) gather before the game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Within that increased aggression, Hicks continued to offer rock-solid run defense. He needed to miss four games but he still piled up 107 tackles. He added 1 sack, 4 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, 5 passes defended, and a touchdown. So, not too shabby, all things considered.

He also tidied up his coverage numbers. Yes, 81% of passes into his coverage were completed, but he shrunk the average yards per catch down from 11.7 to 8.8. Meanwhile, QBs saw their collective passer rating go from 101.4 to 94.2. Not prime Luke Kuechly, no, but a solid effort from Hicks.

The intrigue, of course, rests in whether he’ll be sticking around.

At 31, Hicks is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. He originally arrived in Minnesota via a 2-year, $10 million deal. The Vikings squeezed the defender last offseason, convincing him to drop his 2023 compensation by $1.5 million. And while he’s not getting any younger, he looked much better with Flores at the helm.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) crosses the goal line for a 42-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Ivan Pace is going to be a starter in 2024. True, there could be something truly unforeseen happen, but that’s a 99% certainty. Who gets the start alongside him?

Brian Asamoah is going to stick around. Abraham Beauplan was signed to a futures contract, giving Minnesota another young player to work with. But then Troy Dye is going to be a free agent alongside Hicks. And then some of the in-season fill-ins like Nick Vigil and Anthony Barr seem unlikely to return.

Add it all up and there’s no shortage of need at the position. Linebacker, like the front seven more broadly, needs a major overhaul.

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

The simple fact that Hicks’ post on social media references a “we” hints at an ongoing affiliation with the Vikings. Or, at the very least, a willingness to continue identifying himself with the team. For whatever it’s worth, the Vikings’ social media was sure to retweet his note.

And while the end of his contract serves as a natural breaking point in the partnership, the Jordan Hicks & Minnesota Vikings experience could continue as long as the veteran is willing to let his role evolve.

Jordan Hicks was chosen 84th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Next season will be his 10th in the NFL. He will turn 32 on June 27th.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.