“No Timeline” for T.J. Hockenson’s Return to the Field in Latest Injury Update

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

On Christmas Eve, Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson took a nasty hit from Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph during Minnesota’s Week 16 loss to the Detroit Lions while hauling in a reception.

The hit resulted in a pair of torn ligaments in Hockenson’s knee, and it promptly sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Nearly four months after the injury took place, the Pro Bowl tight end is still rehabbing from the injury, and he took to the podium on Monday to discuss how the process has gone.

T.J. Hockenson Discusses His Injury Rehab

T.J. Hockenson
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost, it seems that Hockenson’s recovery is progressing very well. The tight end spent a good chunk of his time in front of a microphone praising Minnesota’s training staff for how they’ve gone about putting a recovery plan in place for him.

“We have a really good training staff here […] They’ve done a really good job just with the plan so far and laying out blocks, so that’s just kind of what I’ve been focusing myself on,” Hockenson said.

The Vikings star went on to lay out that, for the first few weeks following the injury, the goal was simply to rest and let the swelling go down before he went in for his surgery. Luckily, Hockenson’s MCL was able to heal prior to his surgery to repair his torn ACL, and the tight end described the ACL surgery as “perfect.” Ever since then, he’s been on a steady road to recovery in order to get back on the field as soon as possible.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Josh Oliver (84) celebrates his touchdown with tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Typically, a recovery from a torn ACL can take anywhere from six to nine months, so the expectation has been that Hockenson will miss at least a portion of the 2024 regular season. For now, Hockenson is not ready to put a timeline in place in terms of when exactly he will be set to return to the field.

“I think anything is possible obviously. I’m definitely not going to put a timeline on it just because I haven’t really looked at the whole aspect of things,” Hockenson explained.

When the Vikings acquired Hockenson via trade with the Detroit Lions back in November 2022, they were a team searching for answers at the tight end position. The Pro Bowler proved to be an answer to just about every single one of those questions, putting together 155 receptions for 1478 yards and eight touchdowns through his first 25 regular season games in a Vikings uniform.

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) makes a catch for a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

As a result of his production, Hockenson landed a massive four-year/$68.5 million contract extension with the Vikings right before the 2023 season began. In 2024, he is set to carry the fifth-highest cap hit at the tight end position at $14.04 million.

If Hockenson will indeed miss the opening portions of the 2024 season, Minnesota will again have to figure out how to get consistent production at the position. Luckily, they have one of the deeper tight end rooms in the league after re-signing both Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse this offseason along with Josh Oliver, who signed a three-year deal with the team last offseason.

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.