A Huge Question Looms over the Vikings in the 2024 Offseason
The Minnesota Vikings are heading into the 2024 offseason with many different needs on their roster.
Many of these needs lie on the defensive side of the ball, but a huge question for the 2024 offseason lies on their offensive side of the ball. That question revolves around TE T.J. Hockenson and the recovery timeline for his torn ACL and MCL.
A Huge Question Looms over the Vikings
Hockenson suffered his injury during the Vikings’ Week 16 loss to the Detroit Lions. It occurred during the second quarter as the tight end tried to hurdle Lions safety Kerby Joseph and ended up getting hit in his knee during the process.
While Hockenson should be expected to make a full recovery from the injury, it does call into question exactly what his timeline looks like. ACL injuries often take upwards of nine months to a full year to recover from, so there is a very good chance that the Vikings star will miss time next season.
Prior to his injury, Hockenson was having a stellar season with the Vikings and was a huge reason why Minnesota’s offense was able to stay afloat after Justin Jefferson went on injured reserve with his hamstring injury.
In total, Hockenson caught 95 passes for 960 yards and five touchdowns, setting a new Vikings franchise record for receptions by a tight end, breaking the previous mark set by Kyle Rudolph back in 2016.
While the Vikings have talent waiting in the wings at the tight end spot in Josh Oliver and 2022 seventh-round pick Nick Muse, Johnny Mundt was often the player getting reps in the passing game in Hockenson’s place.
Over the final three games, Mundt caught 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. However, Mundt is set to hit free agency in March and could be wearing different colors during the 2024 season.
On top of Hockenson’s injury and Mundt’s free agency, the Vikings are also set to see both K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell hit the open market in March, which could further deplete their group of pass-catchers for next season.
Assuming Hockenson will miss at least a portion of the 2024 season, the Vikings will need to address their pass-catching group this offseason. Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson are stars in the NFL, but they need capable playmakers around them in order to be their most effective at breaking down opposing secondaries.
As a result, Vikings fans keep an eye on the tight ends and wide receivers both in free agency and in the draft. Intriguing free agents at the tight end position include Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, and Austin Hooper.
Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.