T.J. Hockenson Addresses Dirty Hit

Week 16 vs
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T.J. Hockenson may or may not be back in time for the start of the 2024 regular season — probably not.

T.J. Hockenson Addresses Dirty Hit

But on Monday, he reflected on the hit that ended his 2023 campaign, a tackle at the knees that tore his ACL.

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“Obviously, I wasn’t too happy about it. That’s not a fun one to take. That’s not necessarily based on him as a player. I got nothing against him. I’ve played with him in Detroit, and I understand that’s kind of what they expect you to do in the league. But on the same hand, I’d much rather gone down with a concussion for two weeks than to have to go through this for nine months,” Hockenson told reporters on the first day of voluntary offseason workouts.

Hockenson tore his ACL against the Detroit Lions in December, ending his otherwise remarkable second act in purple. Notorious Lions safety Kerby Joseph hit Hockenson low, finishing his 2023 campaign and probably jeopardizing the beginning of the 2024 regular season. Two weeks later, the same Lions defender ended Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee’s season with a similar hit. Higbee is in the same recovery boat as Hockenson.

Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph high-fives teammates during warmups before the game vs. the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The veteran Viking continued, “So, that’s definitely a conversation, a different conversation, but you know you can’t cut outside the tackle box. Doesn’t really make sense why these guys are able to go as low as they are. When you’re 25 yards downfield looking back at the quarterback, and you don’t have any awareness, you know? And to have that happen again two weeks later, I didn’t really like that.”

Vikings fans erupted over the hit on Hockenson, but the heat died down after a few days. But following Higbee’s injury courtesy of Joseph, the firestorm erupted again.

Hockenson Will End
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Hockenson concluded, “That’s probably the most I’ll say on that, but I definitely don’t think I have it against the player as much as the league putting the defense in those positions in order to have to do that.”

After the Higbee injury, lions head coach Dan Campbell defended his players’ tackling technique: “That’s how we play football here; just keep your head up, see what you hit.”

Meanwhile, Minnesota re-signed two tight ends this offseason to fortify roster depth while Hockenson recovers. Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse re-upped with the club, and Josh Oliver is on deck as TE1 if Hockenson isn’t ready for Week 1.

Rival Named as Possible
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When asked about his availability for Week 1, Hockenson replied, “Anything is possible.”

The next step in the Vikings’ offseason is the NFL draft, which kicks off in 10 days.

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).

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