EAGAN, Minnesota –Jordan Hicks is on his way back into the game.

Hicks will return to practice on Tuesday, according to Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell, effectively activating the 21-day window in which the team can decide to promote him from Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster.

Hicks was hurt in Minnesota’s Week 10 game against the Saints. What was initially thought to be a deep bruise quickly developed into compartment syndrome, and Hicks was taken to the hospital by ambulance for emergency surgery. He was placed on Injured Reserve on November 14, indicating that he would miss at least the next four games.

Hicks expressed optimism about returning to the field during the regular season when he spoke to media members on December 7.

NEWS FLASH: Vikings fans storm the street to welcome Jordan Hicks back
NEWS FLASH: Vikings fans storm the street to welcome Jordan Hicks back

Hicks had 87 tackles, one interception, a sack, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and four passes defensed through the first ten games of the season.

In Hicks’ absence, rookie linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. has handled “green dot” helmet duties, and Troy Dye has stepped up to start.

Though the defense has dealt with Hicks’ absence fairly well, he will undoubtedly be welcomed back with open arms.

O’Connell said it will be “huge” to have Hicks back, especially if he can play against the Lions this weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“What Jordan brings from a communication standpoint in that huddle, or when people are kind of in that 2-minute mode and he can be an extension of Flo’ (Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores) out there, as far as getting the call, the checks, the alerts – the communication to all 11 guys,” O’Connell said. “He’s got such great rapport with [Harrison Smith], [Josh] Metellus and [Camryn] Bynum on the back end, and then making sure the front’s dialed in with Danielle [Hunter] and D.J. [Wonnum] and those interior guys to go have the best rush plan tied in with the coverage – if we’re sending a pressure, if we’re dropping into coverage, whatever that looks like, you feel ultimately the most comfortable when you’ve got a veteran presence like Jordan who just has total ownership of what we’re doing.

“And I think [Pace has] been great in his absence – not only making plays but coordinating a lot of those things through the green dot with Flo’ in his ear,” O’Connell went on to say. “So I think the experience Ivan gained during that time will only help him and his communication in that role when Jordan returns and those two are side by side making sure we’re dialed in from that linebacker position.”

“I know our guys are excited,” O’Connell continued. “Jordan is the heart and soul of our defense’s leadership, right alongside Harry and Danielle and Josh Metellus and some of our other guys.” Anytime you can bring back a player like that – we’ve got to get him some reps this week and see where he’s at… And if we can get him this week, I believe it will be a huge help.”

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