There’s Good News on T.J. Hockenson

T.J. Hockenson
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Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson is effectively the club’s WR3.

There’s Good News on T.J. Hockenson

So when Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph targeted Hockenson’s knees last December and injured him for the rest of the season, all Vikings fans wondered when the playmaker might return.

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The answer as of May? Hockenson’s recovery is reportedly ahead of schedule. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis wrote late last week, “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.”

A bittersweet update indeed, the takeaway is the progression. The situation could always involve the opposite — something indicating he’s behind schedule — but that’s not the case. Too, most Vikings faithful realized months ago that Hockenson won’t be rushed back into action.

t.j. Hockenson
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Lewis added about Minnesota’s tight end condition, “Josh Oliver and Johhny Mundt will fill in if Hockenson misses the first couple of weeks, while Muse is a trusty depth option who occupies one of the last roster spots and eliminates some further flexibility defensively.”

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.

Hockenson Contract
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“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,” Hockenson told reporters on the first day of voluntary offseason workouts last month.

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.”

New Starters
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After the Higbee injury, Lions head coach Dan Campbell defended his players’ tackling technique: “That’s how we play football here; just keep your head up, see what you hit.”

When asked about his availability for Week 1, Hockenson replied at the same press conference, “Anything is possible.”

Most fans expect Hockenson to hit the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in September, though that is merely speculative as of May.

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).

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