T.J. Hockenson Suffers Same Injury as Former Viking’s Legend Exactly 12 Years Later

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have had horrible injury luck all season long.

It started with superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson in Week 5 vs the Chiefs. Then, of course, quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles at Lambeau Field on October 29th. The luck hasn’t gotten any better as the most recent game between the Vikings and Lions has brought another major injury to the organization.

Pro Bowl tight end TJ Hockenson hobbled off the field in the second half of Christmas Eve’s divisional game, and it didn’t look like anything serious at the time.

T.J. Hockenson
Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

Lion’s safety Kirby Joseph tackled Hockenson around the legs, and the elite pass catcher immediately waved to the sideline. He was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game, and head coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed that Hockenson tore both his ACL and MCL and will obviously be out for the remainder of the season. The injury likely means that the start of the 2024 season is also in question for the Vikings’ tight end.

It is especially disheartening because of how well Hockenson had been playing this season. He had already totaled 95 receptions and 960 receiving yards with two weeks left in the year and was well on his way to another 1000-yard receiving campaign.

T.J. Hockenson Suffers Same Injury as Adrian Peterson Exactly 12 Years Later

Legendary Vikings RB
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson jogs onto the field before the start of the Minnesota Vikings game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Dec, 18, 2016. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

An eerie tidbit that goes along with this injury, is that Former Vikings’ All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson suffered the same exact injury on Christmas Eve 12 years ago in Washington. The injuries happened in different ways, as Hockenson took a blow to the knee, and Adrian Peterson was tackled awkwardly while attempting to find running room after a handoff.

Either way, it seems as if the football gods are just mocking the Vikings at this point. Minnesota is technically still in the playoff race, but they definitely have an uphill battle to climb.

Without a security blanket tight end, whoever is at quarterback is going to have find trust in other targets, and Justin Jefferson is obviously a good place to start. But, losing a playmaker who’s been the best at his position this season, is just another right hook to an organization who has had no good luck in 2023.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A better angle to look at is the way Adrian Peterson returned off his knee injury. Peterson was back for the Vikings’ 2012 opener in September, rushing for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns while the Vikings were victorious against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 26-23. The Minnesota running back had arguably the greatest season ever from the position, totaling 2,097 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs, and bringing home the MVP award to boot.

If Hockenson can have a return even close to Adrian Peterson’s, it would be an amazing turnout for both the tight end and Vikings’ organization. Peterson is one of the greatest athletes of all-time, so it may be a little unfair to Hockenson to assume similar results, but any ounce of positivity right now should be welcomed with arms wide open.

Yes, a Creed reference. Take us back to simpler times, with a healthy Vikings’ squad, and hopes of a playoff run. But as of now, let’s just hope the Vikings can get to 2024 with no more major injuries.