Vikings introduce Harrison Phillips and Jordan Hicks to create free agency
MINNEAPOLIS – Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is in his first season in NFL free agency as general manager, and it didn’t take long for the Minnesota Vikings’ new front office chief to see just how much the market can to be competitive.
He had only been in the Twin Cities a few days and made an offer for a house. His real estate agent texted him to let him know he didn’t get it and told him to let that be a learning lesson when multiple people are bidding on something. He could only laugh as he began to put together the 2022 Vikings roster.
“The job is not to win the bidding war, the job is to win the goal of building a team. The best team possible with the resources you have,” Adofo-Mensah said.
He and coach Kevin O’Connell introduced the Vikings’ first two free agent signings, defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and linebacker Jordan Hicks, on Thursday.
“Harrison Phillips and Jordan Hicks are two players who epitomize the smart, tough, competitive environment we’re trying to build,” Adofo-Mensah said.
‘HORRIBLE HARRY’ WILL BE A FIRE HYDRANT AT THE DOG SHOW
Phillips was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2018 and is likely to replace Michael Pierce on the nose. He’ll do the dirty work on the defensive line, and at 6-foot-3, 307 pounds, he called his job “a fire hydrant at the dog show.”
“You get the role because you’re pissed off, but you have to deal with it and do it to the best of your ability. I think I signed up when I was born at about 11 pounds,” Phillips joked.
Phillips played in 14 games last season, starting eight, and had 51 tackles with a sack and four tackles for loss. He said he fought back tears when he signed his contract with the Vikings at the TCO Performance Center and embraced the vision of playing as a team and the culture that O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah are trying to rebuild.
“If the buy-in for players is to win football games and win every week-long season, you have to start there. And culture, they go together,” Phillips said.
O’Connell, a former quarterback, has repeatedly said that Phillips is the type of defensive player who disrupts a game.
“You turn on the tape and you see this guy impacting the running game, the passing game. He’s versatile. It shows game after game on the tape.
He adopted the nickname “Horrible Harry” as a child, after children’s books where a child pulls a snake out of recess and brings it to school. He did it two years before having the book read to him, when he was in kindergarten.
“I was just a naughty little boy, it just stayed there. I’m not a bad man, but sometimes I have to do what a bad man might do,” Phillips said.
He should fit right in with the Vikings. Her mother is nicknamed “The Purple Lady”, loves the color purple, just like her grandmother.
JORDAN HICKS THRILLED TO BE A TEAM MATE WITH ERIC KENDRICKS
O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah were in a meeting when they learned Jordan Hicks was available, and the former Arizona Cardinals linebacker immediately became a priority.
“We were in the middle of a meeting when we found out. We literally stopped the meeting and KO said ‘I didn’t like playing this guy.’ Sometimes it really doesn’t get any harder than that,” Adofo-Mensah said.
Hicks was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and appeared in the team’s Super Bowl in 2018, but did not play due to injury. He then signed with the Cardinals for three seasons, playing two of them with Vikings defensive back Patrick Peterson. His biggest motivation for coming to the Vikings? Become teammates with Eric Kendricks.
Hicks was teammates with Eric’s brother, Mychal, in Philadelphia.
“It was a big part of my decision. I’ve always admired his game from afar. When the opportunity came to be able to come in and play alongside him, it was really a no-brainer,” Hicks said.
Hicks is likely a candidate to replace Anthony Barr. Last season, Hicks had 116 tackles and four sacks for the Cardinals. Eric Kendricks had 143 tackles and five sacks last season. Now they are teammates.
Hicks has 89 career starts and has made at least 116 tackles in each of the last three seasons. He’s also served as defensive captain for the Cardinals for the past two years.
“When you can add a guy like Jordan Hicks, that tells you everything you need to know about what it’s like in an NFL locker room when a new guy can walk in and immediately put his stamp on not just a team, but on a whole organization,” O’Connell said.
Hicks is married with three young children and his grandmother lives in Austin. He wants to be a disrupter on the Vikings defense and a player opponents need to plan their game for.
He also sees the vision of leadership and collaboration that the Vikings are building with a new regime.
“It’s not hard when you meet these guys and hear the direction, what they want to do with this team. The intentionality in every decision has, it’s going in the right direction,” Hicks said.
The Vikings aren’t done adding pieces, but they think Phillips and Hicks are a good start to turn into a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ed Donatell.