T.J. Hockenson’s Return Couldn’t Be More Imperative

Hockenson Chatter
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The Minnesota Vikings are set to draft their quarterback of the future during the upcoming NFL Draft. While that remains the most significant highlight of the offseason, how soon T.J. Hockenson returns to the lineup could help the position thrive.

T.J. Hockenson’s Return Couldn’t Be More Imperative

After Kirk Cousins left for Atlanta this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings had a sizable hole they needed to fill under center. It’s not surprising that they would be looking to the NFL Draft when considering long-term options, but it’s going to be Sam Darnold in the short term. No matter who is under center, they will be surrounded by a significant amount of pass-catching talent. Until T.J. Hockenson returns, though, the full complement of players won’t be felt.

T.J. Hockenson
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When Kwesi Adofo-Mensah responded to an Irv Smith Jr. injury by sending picks to the Detroit Lions for Hockenson, he picked up one of the best players at the position in the league. Hockenson has consistently shown that he belongs in the conversation with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, and the Vikings’ passing game has seen an uptick since he joined the squad.

After being taken out on a low hit by Kerby Joseph last season, Hockenson immediately hit the shelf. He remains there now and will for a handful of weeks into next season. That’s a really unfortunate reality, but it is something that Kevin O’Connell and the Minnesota offense must deal with. The sooner Hockenson can get back, though, the better.

Kirk Cousins Evidently
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Darnold and whatever rookie ultimately takes over under center will have Justin Jefferson to throw the ball to as much as they want. They’ll have Aaron Jones carrying the rock out of the backfield, and he has also proven to be a reliable receiving threat. Jordan Addison is as strong as they come from a number two wideout. The security blanket that is a good tight end, though, is something the Vikings won’t have to lean on.

Having Hockenson available as an over-the-middle type and someone who can be turned to when other options are blanketed is something that the Vikings need to be a reality sooner rather than later. He isn’t going to miss the full season, but having Hockenson at full strength before a rookie signal caller steps in is certainly a desirable outcome.

What ESPN Predicts
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Darnold has struggled at times throughout his career, and the more weapons you can give him, the less pressure is placed on his shoulders. Rehab continues to be the name of the game for Hockenson, and any way to expedite it would be awesome to see.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.