Vikings bring back LB Anthony Barr on practice squad; Jordan Hicks goes on injured reserve

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings signed linebacker Anthony Barr to their practice squad on Tuesday, bringing back their 2014 first-round draft pick and four-time Pro Bowl pick for depth after an injury to leading tackler Jordan Hicks that sent him to injured reserve.

Hicks bruised his right shin in the first quarter of Minnesota's 27-19 win on Sunday over New Orleans, returned late in the second quarter and was forced out of the game for good after an aggravation of the injury in the third quarter.

Hicks developed a condition called compartment syndrome, which is caused by a pressure buildup from internal bleeding or swollen tissues. He was hospitalized for two nights after emergency surgery.

The Vikings said Hicks was discharged on Tuesday. Hicks posted on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, a picture of him smiling in his hospital bed. He said the procedure was “a huge success.” But the team took the cautious route with the move to IR, which means he's ineligible for the next four games.

The earliest Hicks can return is Dec. 24 against division-leading Detroit. The Vikings (6-4) will play Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas and Cincinnati without him.

"It's a big loss for us," said defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who visited Hicks at the hospital. “I think he's playing at a Pro Bowl level.”

Hicks has 87 tackles, tied for 10th in the NFL. He has four tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries for the Vikings this season, playing 100% of the defensive snaps in six of the first nine games.

Rookie Ivan Pace Jr. took over the defensive calls without Hicks, and Troy Dye also played extensively in the second half. Brian Asamoah, their only other inside linebacker on the active roster, has missed the past three games with an ankle injury.

The 5-foot-10 Pace, who was a priority undrafted free agent signing out of Cincinnati, had five tackles against the Saints and has so far proven to be a capable blitzer and run-stopper.

“I thought he did a good job of getting the calls out, executing the calls, playing fast,” Flores said, “and we’ll need more of that.”

The Vikings often use only one inside linebacker in their variety of sets under the aggressive and creative direction of Flores, with third safety Josh Metellus sometimes playing like a linebacker. Hicks has played a vital role in the defense's resurgence in 2023.

Barr was the ninth overall pick in 2014 out of UCLA. He was a starting linebacker for eight seasons, before becoming a free agent in 2022. The Vikings signed Hicks to replace him, and Barr played last year for Dallas. He had been unsigned in 2023 until reuniting with the Vikings.