The awkwardness that had developed recently between the Minnesota Vikings and star tight end TJ Hockenson has been put to rest with the team reportedly giving him a huge extension on Thursday.
The Minnesota Vikings were able to win the NFC North last season due to the team’s impressive offense. Sure, quarterback Kirk Cousins, superstar receiver Justin Jefferson, and former running back Dalvin Cook got a lot of attention, but mid-season acquisition TJ Hockenson made a major impact on the unit after being added to the roster in November.
However, after earning a second trip to the Pro Bowl in 2022 for those efforts, the 26-year-old is looking to get some financial security as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. While he did not hold out of summer activities like some players in a similar situation do, the former first-round pick has been at the center of rumors that he is holding in while sitting on the sidelines from an alleged back issue.
Minnesota Vikings record (2022): 13-4
- TJ Hockenson stats (2022): 86 receptions, 914 receiving yards, 44 first downs
The rumblings out of the team’s facility recently brought into question his availability for the franchise’s 2023 NFL regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 10. However, that seems to longer be in doubt after a report from ESPN’s Ian Rapoport today.
The NFL insider revealed on Thursday that “The Vikings and TJ Hockenson have agreed to terms on a big contract extension.” Following the news, fellow ESPN league insider Tom Pelissero claimed the contract would make Hockenson one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league.
The Athletic’s Dianna Russini confirmed as much when she added in a follow-up Tweet that the deal is for four years, $66 million, but could reach as much as $68.5 with incentives.
After the various reports, Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah confirmed the news by noting Hockenson, “fits our culture” and “He’s the type of player that we want around here in Minnesota.”
The Minnesota Vikings traded a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round selection, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. The star tight end had an impressive showing in his half-season with the team as he reeled in 60 receptions for 519 receiving yards in 10 games.
Hockenson is set to make just over $9 million in the 2023 season.