4 remaining free agents that could start for the Vikings in 2022

(Photo by Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) Akiem Hicks
(Photo by Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) Akiem Hicks /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Akiem Hicks /

Akiem Hicks – DT

2021 Team: Chicago Bears

The Vikings signing Akiem Hicks would be an interesting form of addition by subtraction. The best part would be that Minnesota would no longer have to watch him wreak havoc on their offensive line twice a year.

An added bonus would be his havoc-wreaking ability joining the Vikings’ already intimidating defensive line. Hicks was a fan-favorite target for Minnesota at the beginning of free agency before the team ultimately signed Harrison Phillips along the interior.

New defensive coordinator Ed Donatell brings over a hybrid 3-4 defense, though, making room for Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson, and potentially Hicks in between Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith.

Armon Watts is currently slotted in to start at 5-technique for the Vikings, and he has played well enough to deserve a shot at even more snaps. However, it is important to have enough defensive linemen to rotate consistently to keep them all fresh.

The current depth behind Watts, Tomlinson, and Phillips is, well, it’s not good. The best option if one of them goes down is James Lynch? Maybe T.Y. McGill? Cases could be made for Julian Taylor or Jaylen Twyman, but both of them haven’t played football in quite some time due to injury.

After a quick glance at the Minnesota interior defensive line depth chart, the idea of someone like Hicks joining the front makes a lot more sense.

Hicks spent the last six seasons in Chicago, who also ran a 3-4 defense in that time. He would be quite familiar with his role in the Vikings’ defense.

Hicks only suited up for nine games in 2021 (his best performance was against Minnesota), so health and being in his 30s will knock his price down, similarly to the others on this list.

This is the time of year when a team might take a chance on someone with a red flag or two, but he has an immense amount of talent. Hicks fits that category to a tee, and he could be a huge addition to the Vikings’ defense in more ways than one.

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