T.J. Hockenson Provides Injury Recovery Update

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 11
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This spring and summer, Minnesota Vikings fans await the news of a Justin Jefferson extension and will monitor the progress of rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

T.J. Hockenson Provides Injury Recovery Update

But perhaps a third storyline after those two giant aspects of Vikings football involves tight end T.J. Hockenson’s return date. When Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph hit Hockenson’s knees last December and injured him for the rest of the season, all Vikings fans wondered when the playmaker might return.

Hockenson Contract
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Thanks to Hockenson, 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.

Two weeks after the Hockenson injury, the same Lions defender ended Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee’s season with a similar hit. Higbee is in the same recovery boat as Hockenson. It’s worth noting that Joseph is a former teammate of Hockenson’s.

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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, Johnny Mundt, and Nick Muse. Newcomers Trey Knox and Sammis Reyes also live on the current 90-man roster.

Last month, Hockenson told reporters about his injury, “Obviously, I wasn’t too happy about it. That’s not a fun one to take. That’s not necessarily based on him as a player. I got nothing against him. I’ve played with him in Detroit, and I understand that’s kind of what they expect you to do in the league. But on the same hand, I’d much rather gone down with a concussion for two weeks than to have to go through this for nine months.”

Tight End
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The veteran Viking continued, “So, that’s definitely a conversation, a different conversation, but you know you can’t cut outside the tackle box. Doesn’t really make sense why these guys are able to go as low as they are. When you’re 25 yards downfield looking back at the quarterback, and you don’t have any awareness, you know? And to have that happen again two weeks later, I didn’t really like that.”

Before Hockenson’s personal update, The Athletic’s Alec Lewis wrote on May 2nd, “Hockenson is ahead of schedule in his rehab, but the Vikings are committed to ensuring he is fully healthy before he plays. Last year’s contract cemented the team’s belief that he is one of its cornerstone players. You don’t rush a player like that back from an injury this severe.”

The takeaway? Hockenson is ahead of schedule on the ACL timeline but hesitates to assign a game-ready date.

The Vikings featured Hockenson Wednesday night in their schedule release:

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.