Purple Rumor Mill: T.J. Hockenson Timetable, The Ben Leber Theory, Thayer Thomas

T.J. Hockenson
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the May 19th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: T.J. Hockenson Timetable, The Ben Leber Theory, Thayer Thomas

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: There is no formal timetable for T.J. Hockenson’s return.

The Worst Confirmed
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Thanks to Hockenson personally, there’s a little update this week — that won’t put any deadlines on his return. “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,” Hockenson said via NFL.com.

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.”

Most fans expect Hockenson to hit the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in September, though that is merely speculative as of May. And if that occurs, Minnesota would turn to a hodgepodge of fill-in tight ends, including Josh Oliver, Robert Tonyan, Johnny Mundt, and Nick Muse. Newcomers Trey Knox and Sammis Reyes also live on the current 90-man roster.

Rumor: Ben Leber claims December 1st or after could be J.J. McCarthy’s go-live date.

Vikings LB Weighs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Many Vikings fans have settled on after the Week 6 bye for a natural pivot to J.J. McCarthy, with the assumption that newcomer quarterback Sam Darnold will serve as QB1 in the meantime. In reality, it’s only a matter of time until McCarthy fully takes over, but most believe Darnold will act as a patchover option.

Ben Leber, however, disagrees. “I think most likely, looking at the schedule, I wouldn’t expect to see McCarthy, all things being equal, no injuries, all that other stuff. I don’t expect to see him until about December 1st,” Leber said on KFAN this week.

So, if Leber gets it right, it’ll be about 11 or 12 games of Samuel Richard Darnold.

Rumor: Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell is high on WR Thayer Thomas.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at North Carolina State
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin O’Connell recently said about Thomas, “Looking at Thayer, I was joking with him out there, cause really one year to the day of the first time we got on the grass with him. Just the growth, and the development, and the mindset that he has now. And really being a calming presence out there.”

This basically means Thayer has an outside chance to make the 53-man roster. But it’s still a longshot with 13 WRs on Minnesota’s current roster.


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 MIN 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.

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