T.J. Hockenson Gets the Ball Rolling

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The offseason is formally underway for Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson, who tore his ACL and MCL in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions.

Notorious Lions safety Kerby Joseph hit Hockenson low, ending his 2023 campaign and perhaps jeopardizing the beginning of the 2024 regular season.

T.J. Hockenson Gets the Ball Rolling

But after a handful of questions and whispers surfaced regarding Hockenson’s surgery timetable, the mystery was resolved on Monday. The two-time Pro Bowler reportedly underwent surgery and should be ready sometime in 2024.

Hockenson Gets
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Vikings’ TE T.J. Hockenson underwent surgery today to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament. The surgery was led by Dr. Neal ElAttrache from the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, Calif.”

Hockenson was on the cusp of becoming the Vikings’ first 1,000+ yard tight end in 42 years before the knee injury. 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 held the offense together.

Only 2 Options
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Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said about his tight end a couple of days after the injury, “Knowing T.J., the type of player he is, I’m absolutely looking forward to when we can get him back rolling and ready to have a great 2024 season.”

Minnesota received Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick (Jay Ward), and a 2024 fourth-round pick in a trade with the Lions last season while giving up a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder. Ironically, Hockenson’s old team knocked him down for the count.

Hockenson Chatter
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Hockenson signed a four-year, $66 million extension in August, nominating the Iowa alumnus as the highest-paid TE in NFL history. That deal could be topped this offseason, but for now, Hockenson is the richest of them all at his position.

Moreover, Minnesota lost several other players for the season in 2023, including Kirk Cousins (QB), Cam Akers (RB), Dean Lowry (DT), Oli Udoh (OT), James Lynch (DL), D.J. Wonnum (OLB), and Marcus Davenport (OLB). It was not an ideal campaign for optimal health, especially compared to the Vikings’ relatively good injury fortune in 2022.

Hockenson Contract
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Hockenson tabulated 95 receptions for 960 yards and 5 scores in his second season with the Vikings. Before the injury, his consistency was damn near required on offense after the team’s quarterback carousel and injury to Jefferson.

Hockenson will turn 27 in July.

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.