T.J. Hockenson Earns Jaw-Dropping New Deal

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

A Minnesota Vikings matter lingering for months is over.

The franchise opted to make T.J. Hockenson the richest tight end in NFL history, securing a long-term deal for the man it traded for nine months ago.

T.J. Hockenson Earns Jaw-Dropping New Deal

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted the extension’s details on Thursday, “Details on Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson’s extension: Base value: $66M over 4 new years. Cash flow: $32M over 2 years, $48M over 3. Full guarantee: $29M at signing (including ~$9M left on rookie deal). Total guarantee: $42.5M. Max: $68.5M with incentives. Now signed through 2027.”

Earns Jaw
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hockenson now ranks at the top of the NFL’s list of highest-paid tight ends per average annual salary ($17.125M) and sets the market for future TE deals. He’s the standard until next March or so.

The Vikings have one more mega extension to complete this summer involving Justin Jefferson, who is also expected to reset the market to the tune of a deal worth $30 to $35 million annually.

Justin Jefferson Weighs in
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hockenson has been slightly sidelined for a few weeks due to an ear infection that most folks believed was an “excuse” to hold-in for a new extension. If that was the strategy, it worked. Emphatically. Hockenson should be ready for Week 1 in 10 days when the Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Onboarding the 26-year-old via trade last season utterly revamped the Vikings 2022 offense, adding a target for quarterback Kirk Cousins in the middle of the field. Opposing defensive coordinators increasingly focused on Hockenson’s Offensive Player of the Year teammate, Justin Jefferson, so Hockenson felt like a godsend.

Kirk Cousins Evidently
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Hockenson produced 60 receptions for 519 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in 10 games with the Vikings — not a bad opening salvo. Moreover, spread throughout an entire regular season and per-target basis, Hockenson could’ve — and still might in 2023 — tabulate a 100+ catch, 1000+ yard season in Minnesota. That’s the goal.

Here are a couple of statistics to illustrate Hockenson’s immediate impact on the Vikings:

Most Receiving Yards,
in First 10 Games w/Vikings:

Justin Jefferson (848)
Sammy White (742)
John Gilliam (722)
Randy Moss (698)
Bernard Berrian (667)
Stefon Diggs (638)
Jermaine Wiggins (538)
T.J. Hockenson (519)

Burn the Tape
Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports.

Most Receptions by a TE,
First 10 Games with a Franchise,
Since 1970

T.J. Hockenson, MIN (60)
Kellen Winslow, CLE (56)
Keith Jackson, PHI (54)
Tony Gonzalez, KC (52)
Jermaine Wiggins, MIN (51)

The Vikings received the explosive tight end, a 2023 fourth-round pick (Jay Ward), and a 2024 fourth-round pick while giving up a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder last November in a deal with the rival Detroit Lions.

Few Vikings fans lament the swap.

The extension marks the first high-profile extension on general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s watch, aside from a small extension with fullback C.J. Ham a few months ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.