Grim Prediction for T.J. Hockenson’s Return

3 Bold Predictions for Vikings vs. Patriots 
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If you’re holding out hope that T.J. Hockenson can return for the start of the 2024 regular season, it may be time to surrender.

Grim Prediction for T.J. Hockenson’s Return

Hockenson, a Pro Bowl tight end for the Minnesota Vikings, was injured in December by Detroit Lions defender Kerby Joseph, a former teammate of Hockenson’s, ending his 2023 campaign and probably jeopardizing the beginning of this year’s hurrah.

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

Many Vikings fans have prepared for a Hockenson-less start to 2024, and that outcome might actually bleed further into the season than most realize. Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling opined on the topic this week, preparing the masses for a post-Week 6 return.

“Because I would imagine T.J. Hockenson is on the PUP list through 6 weeks. Week 6 bye is conveniently timed here. And then, oh, look who’s on the schedule Week 7. Lions. His old buddy, Kirby Joseph,” Goessling mused on the Access Vikings podcast last week.

Hockenson Contract
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The theory would plop back Hockenson into action Week 7 at home versus the Detroit Lions. And if Minnesota’s season starts poorly, that game could be circled for the start of the J.J. McCarthy era — in theory.

Here’s the Vikings full schedule:

Week 1 — at New York Giants
Week 2 — vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 3 — vs. Houston Texans
Week 4 — at Green Bay Packers
Week 5 — vs. New York Jets (London)
Week 6 — Bye
Week 7 — vs. Detroit Lions
Week 8 — at Los Angeles Rams (TNF)
Week 9 — vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 10 — at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11 — at Tennessee Titans
Week 12 — at Chicago Bears
Week 13 — vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 14 — vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 15 — vs. Chicago Bears (MNF)
Week 16 — at Seattle Seahawks
Week 17 — vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 18 — at Detroit Lions

Burn the Tape
Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Goessling hypothesis is accurate, Hockenson will be dearly missed, and Minnesota will fill his aerial targets with an assortment of Josh Oliver, Robert Tonyan, and Johnny Mundt. The Vikings aren’t lacking bodies in the TE room, with seven on the roster as of mid-May.

The veteran tight end said via about his recovery last week, “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.”

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Hockenson added, “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.”

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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