T.J. Hockenson Fired Up over Vikings’ Latest Signing

Hockenson Chatter
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

He may not be on the field Week 1 with the new guy, but Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson is elated about his team’s most recent acquisition.

T.J. Hockenson Fired Up over Vikings’ Latest Signing

Minnesota signed former NFC-North-everywhere tight end Robert Tonyan, and he’ll compete for a TE2-TE3 job this summer. In his career, Tonyan has played for the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears — and now the other NFC North club, the Vikings.

Green Bay Packers tight end R. Tonyan (85) runs for a first down on a reception against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Minnesota’s main social media account tweeted the transaction’s finality last week, and Hockenson was quick to retweet with a spicy acronym:

The move made Minnesota’s tight end room unusually deep, perhaps in preparation for life without Hockenson to start the 2024 season, a man still recovering from a torn ACL. As of May 20th, this is the Vikings TE depth chart:

  • T.J. Hockenson
  • Josh Oliver
  • Robert Tonyan
  • Johnny Mundt
  • Nick Muse
  • Trey Knox
  • Sammis Reyes
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Many of the team’s fans believe WR3, defensive tackle, and left guard remain clear roster needs, but tight end was evidently an emphasis. Tonyan, 30, encountered a modest season with the Chicago Bears in 2023, receiving just 17 targets in 17 games while banking 11 receptions for 112 yards. Before 2023, Tonyan spent five seasons in Green Bay, with 1,437 yards on 148 catches for 17 touchdowns in 68 games as a Packer. At times, he was one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite teammates.

Adding Tonyan could signal a Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list fate for Hockenson, who said last week his return had no timetable. “They haven’t really put a timeline on it. We’re just kinda taking it day by day, week by week, there’s just so many variables that you can go through in this process,” Hockenson told NFL.com on Thursday.

Minnesota Vikings free safety Anthony Harris (41) breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers tight end R. Tonyan. © Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

“I’m doing really good right now. We’re attacking each process. I’m attacking each one, and it’s been awesome; the progression has been incredible,” he added.

Most believed Oliver and Mundt would hold down operations until Hockenson’s return, but Tonyan thickened the plot. The battle-tested veteran could reasonably make the 53-man roster, especially if Hockenson’s adamant endorsement is a reasonable indicator.

t.j. Hockenson
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Tonyan is the most recent in a long list of Packers defectors to join the Vikings in the last few years, including Bashaud Breeland, Chandon Sullivan, Za’Darius Smith, Dean Lowry, Aaron Jones — and now Tonyan.

Hockenson was fired up about his down-the-street NBA neighbor over the weekend, too. After the Timberwolves stunningly chipped off the champion Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena, Hockenson tweeted this:

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.