EAGAN, Minn. – Jordan Hicks teamed with Mychal Kendricks in Philadelphia from 2015-17.
Now he's returning to the "City of Brotherly Love" as an opponent for the first time. At least he'll have Kendricks' younger brother Eric as a wingman.
Minnesota's Monday Night Football game will mark Hicks' first trip back to "The Linc" since his final season with the Eagles in 2018. He did play one game against Philadelphia during his time with the Cardinals (2019-2021), but it was in Arizona.
Hicks, who was drafted 84th overall by Philadelphia in 2015, spoke with Twin Cities media members Thursday about returning – and being on the receiving end of a boisterous fan base that makes things difficult on opponents.
"I have a lot of good memories out there, a lot of good people I still know on that team, and I'm definitely excited," Hicks said. "Anytime you play a former team or play back in your hometown, it means a little more.
"I'd imagine it will be pretty hostile, which is exciting because any time that juice is out there, it does nothing but amp you up," he added. "It will be my first time going back on this side of it."
Over four seasons with the Eagles, Hicks played 43 games (40 starts) and totaled 254 tackles, 11.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and seven interceptions.
Hicks showed a knack in Philly for being around the ball, and he's already demonstrated the same thing for Minnesota. In his Vikings debut last week, he led the team with 14 tackles and forced a fumble during a sack of Aaron Rodgers.
"There's a lot of plays out there where there was a combination of guys doing their jobs and allowing other people to have success. That was one of them," he explained of the turnover. "[Za'Darius Smith] did a great job with the running back, I saw [Rodgers] break the pocket and just triggered. That's this defense. This defense is built on making big plays, bend don't break and keep points off the board. That's what we're trying to build off of."
Hicks will try for takeaways this week, too, as the Vikings hope to start the season 2-0.
Though he didn't overlap in Philadelphia with QB Jalen Hurts, a second-round pick in 2020, Hicks is plenty aware of the danger Hurts can pose.
"[Running around] is what we does best. He's as dynamic as they come with his legs, and he's a really good football player," Hicks said. "So we've got to do everything we can to stop him, whether it's scheme runs or him breaking contain, breaking the pocket – we've all got to keep eyes on him and be there."
View photos of Vikings LB Jordan Hicks touring TCO Performance Center and getting introduced to the team for the first time.
Hicks is accustomed to mobile quarterbacks after teaming with Kyler Murray in Arizona, but he said Murray and Hurts are "very different" in playing style and how they operate in the pocket.
Hicks isn't the only Viking prepping to force a previous team on the prime-time stage.
Minnesota acquired receiver/punt returner Jalen Reagor from the Eagles just two weeks ago (Aug. 31), and former Packer Chandon Sullivan began his career in Philadelphia in 2018.
Reagor said he remains in a group chat with receiver DeVonta Smith and other Eagles, though it's likely safe to assume there hasn't been too much detail exchanged among the group this week.
"They've got a lot of weapons. You guys see it. They've got A.J. [Brown], Quez [Watkins], Jalen [Hurts], Miles [Sanders], DeVonta [Smith], so you see why their offense is pretty good," Reagor said. "I didn't really get a chance to see the new, improved, like when they made all the moves [on defense], but the defense is pretty solid, if you ask me.
"We're just going to go out there and take care of our end, and you guys will be able to make that judgement," Reagor added.
Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell also noted the challenge of playing on the road in Philadelphia.
"It's definitely an environment that they take a lot of pride in. You know that. It's very difficult to go play — it's truly one of those places in the league where you can tell yourself, 'It's our group against [67,000],' " O'Connell said. "And they're going to have it rockin' in the first Monday Night Football game of the year, coming off a win [at Detroit]. Obviously a playoff team last year.
"It's a heck of a challenge on the field and with the environment there," he continued. "We'll try to simulate what we can here, but ultimately, our guys are just going to have to respond in that moment. Hopefully they're prepared and ready to go."