5 Vikings whose jobs are in danger following the 2023 NFL Draft
By Chris Schad
Player No. 5
Jordan Hicks - ILB
Jordan Hicks might be considered a winner after this year’s draft. The Vikings didn’t sign an inside linebacker in free agency, and they didn’t take an inside linebacker during this year’s draft. But Hicks also comes into this year with something to prove after a disappointing first season in Minnesota.
Hicks brought some value to the Vikings as a pass rusher and a run defender, but he struggled mightily in coverage. His 50.4 PFF grade in coverage ranked 46th among 56 linebackers with 50 percent of the league lead in snaps, and his 121.3 passer rating allowed was the third-highest among that group.
Brian Asamoah did a better job on limited snaps in coverage but he appears to be sliding into the role of Eric Kendricks. Hicks’s biggest competition may come from UDFA Ivan Pace Jr., who ranked third among collegiate linebackers with 50 percent of the nation’s leader in run snaps in run defense (90.7) and ranked first in pass-rushing grade (93.3) in that group.
Even better? Pace held his own in coverage with a coverage grade of 70.6.
It’s unlikely that Pace would take over Hicks’s job as a starter early in the year, but it’s something to watch if Pace has a tremendous preseason. By the end of the season, the Vikings could have a new starter next to Asamoah and Pace fits the mold of what Brian Flores wants from his defense.