The Vikings waived running back and kickoff return man Maurice Hicks this morning after he spent only one season with the team. Hicks joined the Vikings as a free agent last March after spending four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hicks was signed to a three-year contract because of his ability on kick returns. In his time with the 49ers, he averaged 22.9 yards on 185 returns. What really impressed the Vikings was that Hicks had two 55-yard kick returns against them in a 2007 game in San Francisco.
This season Hicks averaged 23.8 yards on 29 returns for the Vikings but missed the first two games because of a sprained foot and then was inactive for three games late in the season.
That inactive streak came after Hicks had a costly fumble on a kick return late in the Vikings’ 19-13 loss at Tampa Bay on Nov. 16. The Vikings trailed 16-13 when Hicks failed to hang onto the ball. The Buccaneers recovered at the Vikings 26-yard line and eventually got a Matt Bryant field goal to account for the final margin.
The Vikings likely will be looking to the draft or free agency for a possible return man and also could take a look at receiver Darius Reynaud, who averaged 25.1 yards on eight returns late in the season but was quickly sidelined by a foot injury.
Wide receiver Aundrae Allison and running back Chester Taylor also were used at times on kick returns. Allison averaged 16.7 yards on six returns after setting a Vikings record by averaging 28.7 yards on kick returns in 2007. He had three returns of 60-plus yards in 2007 and set a team record with a 104-yard return for a touchdown against Detroit.
Hicks had been used on offense by the 49ers but playing behind Adrian Peterson and Taylor he did not have a carry or a rushing attempt in 2008.