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TJ Hockenson is the Vikings’ Final Piece on Offense

Minnesota’s trade deadline acquisition joins a loaded offense that he should be able to seamlessly slide into.

The Minnesota Vikings (6-1) have asserted themselves as the kings of the NFC North through seven games, and they only got stronger with Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.

Minnesota acquired tight end TJ Hockenson (and two picks) from the 1-6 Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. The move might seem insignificant in a star-studded offense headlined by Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Adam Thielen, but Hockenson couldn’t have arrived at a better time — Kirk Cousins‘ safety blanket, TE1 Irv Smith Jr., suffered a high-ankle sprain in last Sunday’s win over the Cardinals and is expected to miss 8-10 weeks, per ESPN.

All things considered, Minnesota’s dominance is both impressive and surprising. The Vikings kept their offensive core intact from last year, hired a new head coach, and only spent $212 million in the offseason (eighth-least in the NFL). Now, Hockenson is the new star face around the locker room and he should fill a void.

The Vikings have totaled 50 targets to their tight ends this season (No. 21) and Smith Jr. only saw 4.7 targets per game (No. 20). Now, that should change.

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TJ Hockenson: By the Numbers

Coming out of the University of Iowa, Hockenson is one of 24 tight ends to be selected in the first round since 2000. Here’s how the 2019 eighth-overall pick has fared among other tight ends in that span:

Receptions: 186 (10th)
Targets:
287 (9th)
Yards: 2,068 (10th)
Touchdowns:
15 (7th)
Avg. Y/C:
11.1 (11th)
Rec. Y/G:
44 (7th)

Contract Details
  • 2022 Salary: $536,111
  • Avg. Salary: $4,955,306
  • 2023 Salary: $9,392,000
  • UFA: 2024

Hockenson will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season.

Market Value

Spotrac determines market value based on a player’s age, contract status, and statistical production. The tight end market is booming, and if Hockenson keeps up the pace in the Twin Cities, then he could be in for a big payday.

  • Hockenson’s projected deal worth is 4 years, $54.4 million. That would currently be sixth after David Njoku.
  • His average annual salary is projected at $13.6 million, also sixth behind Njoku.
PLAYERLENGTHVALUEAVG. SALARYAGE WHEN SIGNED
George Kittle5$75,000,000$15,000,00026
Dallas Goedert4$57,000,000$14,250,00026
Mark Andrews4$56,000,000$14,000,00024
David Njoku4$54,750,000$13,687,50025

Outlook

It’s a damn good day to be TJ Hockenson, moving from a 1-6 team to a 6-1 division-leading team. It takes some time to learn a new playbook — especially as a pass-blocking TE. Not to mention, the Vikings play the Commanders next, and Washington has allowed tight ends to snag just 28.3 yards per game, ranking second in the NFL in that category.

But overall, it’s a win for both sides. Hock joins a playoff contender in Minny, and Minny fills their tight end vacancy.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.