T.J. Hockenson’s Recent Comments Should Have Vikings Fans Jumping for Joy
After some instability at the tight end position for a year-plus after Kyle Rudolph departed from the team in 2021, the then first-year GM, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, decided enough was enough and acquired T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions at the trade deadline.
Hockenson was an immediate fit in the Vikings offense, and over the final 10 games of the regular season, he caught 60 passes for 519 yards and 3 TDs. Expanded out to 17 games, that pace would put him at 102 receptions, 882 yards, and 5 TDs.
With that type of production, and Hockenson set to enter a contract year in 2023, one of the remaining items on Adofo-Mensah’s ‘to-do’ list this offseason should be getting the tight end a new extension. Vikings fans should have great hope in a deal getting worked out, especially given Hockenson’s recent comments.
On Tuesday afternoon, Hockenson met with the media following Minnesota’s OTAs practice session, and he was asked about his contract year and whether that was impacting how he looked at the OTA practices and the rest of the summer.
“That’s not really anything I’m focused on. I mean, it is what it is. I think that’s no secret that that’s coming up, but that’s not a focus that I’m worried about. I’m just out here playing football, having fun with the guys, really enjoying the city of Minneapolis, and trying to get around these fans because this a place obviously that I want to be, and everything just needs to work out. I hope to be here for a long time, but on the same hand, it is a business and there’s a side of that. So again, I don’t look at that, but it’s great to be here right now.”
With these words, Hockenson has made his intentions clear. His desire is to remain in Minnesota. It will all come down to whether or not the business side of things “works out”, like he said. It would be rather shocking to see Minnesota not offer him a new contract for a couple reasons.
First and foremost, they absolutely have the money in order to do so. Minnesota has freed up a nice chunk of change going into the rest of 2023, and they are sitting on a gold mine of assets in 2024 and beyond.
Then there’s the impact of Hockenson’s presence in the offense. Not only is he as reliable a receiver as you can have at the tight end position, but he does offer some help as a blocker too. Pro Football Focus gave him a respectable run-blocking grade of 65.6 for the 10 games spent in Minnesota. Pairing he and free agent signing Josh Oliver at the tight end spots should be a boon to Minnesota’s rushing attack in 2023.
Finally, of all the tight ends to give a contract to in the NFL, teams would absolutely want to have the player that is only turning 26 years old in July. Hockenson has plenty of years of positive football in front of him as long as he stays healthy. Minnesota should realize this opportunity in front of them and jump at it.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.