Vikings Encouraged to Make Bonkers Trade Deal

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

They should trade the man — just like the Detroit Lions did two years ago.

Vikings Encouraged to Make Bonkers Trade Deal

That’s the word from NFL writer Mike Payton this week, suggesting the Minnesota Vikings would be better off trading T.J. Hockenson for draft assets like Hockenson’s former team did in 2022.

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

“The Vikings could then take their Sam LaPorta shot with Michigan’s Colston Loveland in the 2025 NFL Draft and pair him back up with J.J. McCarthy,” Payton described the fallout of a Hockenson trade in an A to Z Sports article.

“He would be on a rookie deal and would be a lot cheaper for the Vikings. Cheaper is good since Jordan Addison is probably going to get paid big in the near future.”

Minnesota received Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick in a trade with the Lions in 2022 while giving up a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder. Ironically, Hockenson’s old team ended his season with a dirty hit seven months ago.

Hockenson Contract
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Payton added, “Right now, we do know that Hockenson is recovering from a torn ACL and that could cause him to miss some time during the 2024 season. So things are already off to a rough start. But he could come back and immediately be the impact guy he was in 2023. If it does come true, the Vikings might be better off cutting bait early and continuing along with their rebuild.”

Hockenson was on the brink of becoming the Vikings’ first 1,000+ yard tight end in 42 years before the ACL tear last December. Joe Senser achieved the mark in 1981, and Hockenson fell 40 yards short. When wide receiver Justin Jefferson was injured for seven games in October and November, Hockenson was often the glue that kept the offense together.

vikings gm
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Payton also hedged his own bet: “Again, this is all depending on an imaginary regression that may not even happen at all. Darnold might turn out to be a pretty good starter. He’s already putting in the work to make that happen. Even better for the Vikings, McCarthy might be the real deal. In both cases Hockenson might not miss a beat and this whole thought process we’re having might just be that one time we went crazy in July.”

In games without Kirk Cousins last year — who now plays for the Atlanta Falcons — Hockenson averaged over 68 receiving yards per game. Or 1,171 when scaled to a 17-game season. He was not a detriment to anything when Cousins was lost.

Janik Eckardt of PurplePTSD, a sister site to VikingsTerritory, tweeted about Payton’s outlandish trade theory, “Underutilizing their former 8th overall pick for years and then trading him away to a team where he’s suddenly much better??? That doesn’t sound like a good idea but who’s to say.”

Generally speaking, Minnesota is severely unlikely to trade Hockenson for two reasons:

  1. He’s an integral part of the offense — quarterback be damned.
  2. Any Hockenson trade would cause about $14-15 million in dead cap penalties.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

The first year of Hockenson’s extension kicks in this season. Probably not the time to trade the guy.

Hockenson may miss the start of the season while recovering from the torn ACL.

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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