News | Minnesota Vikings –

5 Things to Know About New Vikings LB Hardy Nickerson

View photos of new Vikings LB Hardy Nickerson who recently signed with the team.

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings added linebacker depth to their roster Tuesday with the signing of Hardy Nickerson.

The 26-year-old California native is listed as 6-foot and 235 pounds.

Minnesota waived cornerback Marcus Sayles in a corresponding move.

Here are five things to know about the newest Minnesota Viking:

1. A familiar first start

Nickerson's first start in the NFL occurred in Week 14 of the 2017 season with Cincinnati … at U.S. Bank Stadium against the Vikings.

Minnesota earned a 34-7 victory that day to wrap up the NFC North, but Nickerson was credited with five tackles (four solo) for the Bengals.

The linebacker made two starts as a rookie, with the second one in Baltimore in Week 16.

2. Strong family pedigree

Nickerson can turn to his father, Hardy, for football advice. The elder Nickerson played 16 total seasons in the National Football League with the Steelers, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Packers.

A fifth-round pick of Pittsburgh in the 1987 NFL Draft, Nickerson ended his career as a five-time Pro Bowl honoree and earned four All-Pro (two First-Team) selections.

He was tabbed as a member on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team at linebacker.

3. NFL experience

Nickerson joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2017.

He has played in 37 career games with nine starts, totaling 81 tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.

Nickerson made seven starts in 2018, but split the 2019 season between Cincinnati's active roster and the practice squad.

4. More Pac-12 connections

Nickerson, who grew up in Oakland, stayed close to home for college and attended the University of California from 2012-15.

He redshirted as a true freshman before appearing in 35 career games with 27 starts over the next three seasons.

Nickerson, who earned a bachelor's degree in legal studies at Cal, tallied 246 tackles, nine tackles for loss, a pair of sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception in his time with the Bears.

Nickerson's best season came as a junior in 2015 when he started all 13 games and compiled a team-high 112 tackles.

Nickerson is now one of four linebackers on Minnesota's 80-man roster with Pac-12 connections. Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks starred at UCLA, and rookie Troy Dye attended Oregon. And linebacker Cam Smith, who is on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List, played at Southern California.

5. Another season with Dad

Nickerson transferred from Cal to Illinois, where his father was defensive coordinator, for his final college season.

Nickerson appeared in 12 games while playing for his father, racking up 107 total tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Nickerson was also coached by his father during his final two seasons at Bishop O'Dowd High School in 2010 and 2011.