T.J. Hockenson Chatter Has Begun

T.J. Hockenson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

On November 1st, 2022, the Minnesota Vikings traded a 2nd-Round pick from 2023 and a 2024 3rd-Round pick to the Detroit Lions for tight end T.J. Hockenson, a 2023 4th-Round pick, and a conditional 2024 4th-Round pick.

The club traded down two rounds next year and one in 2024 to land Hockenson.

The trade 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.

T.J. Hockenson Chatter Has Begun

Well, this offseason is now the time to contemplate Hockenson-related next steps. The former Lion enters the final year of his contract, and Vikings front office bossman Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will want to ensure Hockenson stays glued to the organization for the next 4-6 years.

Hockenson Chatter
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Vikings have “clear interest in extending” Hockenson. Of course, the pricetag won’t be minimal, so Adofo-Mensah will juggle Jefferson’s humongous upcoming extension and Hockenson’s too. This is the price of employing an offense-first head coach — you’ve got to dish out the big bucks to the playmakers.

Week 16 vs
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Sean Borman tweeted Monday, “Hockenson is due to earn $9.392M this year on his 5th-year option. An extension would lower his 2023 cap hit. The likely floor for a potential deal: $13.687M per year, what David Njoku agreed to in 2022.”

And the key word there is floor, as Hockenson will likely expect more than the floor.

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.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

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)

Justin Jefferson Weighs in
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

And across the league:

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)

Editor of PurplePTSD.com, Josh Frey, predicts Hockenson’s deal to fetch four years and $56 million, guaranteeing Hockenson a spot on the Vikings roster through the end of 2027.

Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders is the NFL’s highest-paid tight end, netting a cool $17 million per year. You should reasonably expect Hockenson’s next deal to notch $13-$17 million per season — and the deal should get done in the next two months.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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