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New Vikings LB Jordan Hicks Fired Up to Play with Eric Kendricks

LB Jordan Hicks
LB Jordan Hicks

EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell had plenty of success in his previous gig as the Rams offensive coordinator.

But there was one player from O'Connell's time in the NFC West that he dreaded going against.

O'Connell welcomed that linebacker to his own team Thursday, as Minnesota introduced Jordan Hicks as one of its first free agent signees in 2022.

And yes, O'Connell is quite thrilled that Hicks is now on his defense and that he doesn't have to worry about game planning for him.

"That's real about playing against him," O'Connell said. "It goes even further back than the last three years with him being in Arizona. Incredibly productive in his time there but also in Philadelphia before that, as well. People don't talk enough about consistent production and consistent production from leadership on your team."

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah recalled O'Connell's reaction when the Vikings found out Hicks was coming to Minnesota.

"We were in the middle of a meeting when we found out," Adofo-Mensah said. "We literally stopped the meeting, and KO turned to me and said, 'I didn't like playing against that guy.' Sometimes it's really not more difficult than that."

Hicks, who spent the past three seasons in Arizona, said being able to disrupt a game — or an opposing coach's game plan — is something he prides himself on.

"I want to be disruptive, I want to be consistent, I want to be somebody that has to be game planned for," Hicks said. "So, to hear that compliment was validating, but it's not the end, right?

"I feel like I have a lot more left in the tank and a lot more good football ahead," Hicks added. "It starts day one of the offseason, so that's the mentality, get in the lab and we're all starting from scratch, right? New coaching staff, so it's exciting times."

The 29-year-old Hicks figures to slot in as starter at inside linebacker next to Eric Kendricks in Minnesota's new 3-4 defensive scheme.

View photos of new Vikings LB Jordan Hicks who joined the team during free agency.

And the chance to do just that is what drew Hicks, a former captain with the Cardinals, to the Vikings.

"It was a big part of my decision. I've looked up to his game since we both came in the league," Hicks said. "Played with his brother [Mychal] in Philly when I was first drafted.

"Me and EK have kind of crossed paths here and there, but always from afar I've admired his game," Hicks added. "So, when the opportunity presented itself to be able to come in and play alongside on a defense with great leadership, with great talent, it was really a no-brainer."

O'Connell stated that the Vikings will now employ a pair of the game's top players at the inside linebacker spot.

"Just looking at last year, there were two linebackers in the NFL with 100-plus tackles and four interceptions," O'Connell said. "And those two guys will be playing linebacker for our team now with Eric Kendricks and obviously Jordan Hicks."

Hicks started all of the 49 possible regular-season games for the Cardinals over the past three seasons, racking up 384 total tackles, according to He also posted 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

View photos of the Vikings 2022 coaching staff.

His streak of 51 consecutive starts is the third-longest active streak among NFL linebackers.

"I've invested in my body. I've got guys that I lean on to take care of my body, people that I've surrounded myself with," Hicks said. "Health is a premium. If you can't be on the field, you can't show what you can do. I've been through that personally.

"I didn't want to have that label on me," Hicks added. "So I decided to take it as seriously as I possibly could, and hopefully shook that bug off of me."

Hicks was a 2015 third-round pick by the Eagles out of Texas and spent the first four years of his career with Philadelphia. His tenure there included a win in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium, although Hicks was on Injured Reserve for the Eagles playoff run.

The linebacker said Thursday that his top goal is to be able to play on the grandest stage.

"I think about it all the time. The one thing I want to do is go to the Super Bowl and win it, and play it," Hicks said. "That's part of my journey, is the mission to get back there.

"I've been on winning teams. I've been on losing teams. This game is really only fun when you win. Simple as that," he continued. "I enjoy this game most when we're winning."

Overall, Hicks has 11 career interceptions with one returned for a score. He has also tallied nine forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 10.5 sacks in his career.

His best season came in 2016 when he recorded five interceptions and had 11 passes defended. He recorded a sack, three tackles for loss and 11 total tackles in a 21-10 Eagles win over the Vikings that was Minnesota's first loss that season.

Hicks has some other Minnesota connections, too, including a grandmother who lives in Austin, about 100 miles south of U.S. Bank Stadium.

"When I found out Minnesota was an opportunity, the conversations with my wife about this place have been nothing but positive," Hicks said. "Being able to be here the past day and a half, being able to see some areas, drive around, meet some people, I've actually got family from Austin here.

"I'm originally from Austin, Texas. I've got family here in Austin," Hicks added. "You guys embody my grandma; she's the sweetest lady that I've ever known. Everybody's been amazing, and I'm excited to get in this locker room and get to work."