Artis Hicks said he had "mixed emotions" this weekend because he's never experienced free agency. But it didn't take the Vikings backup offensive linemen very long to find a new home.
Hicks signed a three-year contract worth a maximum of $9 million with the Washington Redskins on Saturday. He will get a chance to win a starting job somewhere along the line, most likely at right guard.
"They told me they liked me at guard and they liked me at tackle,” Hicks said by phone from the Redskins facility. “I can play both sides. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be penciled in at or where on the depth chart. But wherever it is I’ll do the best I can to make the most of it. That’s all I can ask for is an opportunity to compete. That’s what I’ve tried to do my whole career.”
Hicks served as the Vikings top backup linemen the past few seasons. He is capable of playing every line spot except center. But he wanted to find a team that offered a chance to compete for a starting job when he became an unrestricted free agent.
Hicks also had visits scheduled with Arizona and Detroit, but he found a good fit in Washington.
"The coaching staff is a bunch of good people," he said. "I like the system. I'm very familiar with the terminology. And being able to have a chance to compete for a starting spot ... those things were the biggest things that attracted me here."
Hicks had dinner with some of the Redskins coaching staff Friday night and was impressed by head coach Mike Shanahan, who took over in January.
Hicks said he enjoyed his four seasons with the Vikings, calling his departure "bittersweet."
"I had my ups and downs but overall my four years there was great," he said. "I wouldn't take it back. I met some good people there, a lot of friends there. So it's kind of bittersweet. Sometimes it's hard when you move on but just like everything else in life nothing stays the same forever.
"I just want to thank everybody who supported me. There are a lot of good guys in that locker room. I'm going to miss them. But we'll cross paths again."