Vikings add flexibility with Hicks' departure

Minnesota can now sign two unrestricted free agents after losing offensive lineman Artis Hicks to Washington on Saturday evening. ESPN's John Clayton reports Hicks agreed to a three-year deal.

Because the Vikings were one of the Final Four teams in the 2009 playoffs, their input of unrestricted free agents (UFA) can't exceed their output. Contracts must also be comparable.

So the Vikings can sign one UFA to replace tailback Chester Taylor, who signed a four-year deal worth $12.5 million with $7 million guaranteed. They can sign another to replace Hicks, whose contract terms weren't immediately available.

Remember, there is a difference between a UFA and a free agent who is on the market because his contract was terminated. Running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook are examples of the latter pool, from which the Vikings can acquire an indefinite number of players.