Friday, June 16, 2023

The Quiet ‘Other Guy’ Needing a Contract Extension from the Vikings


Dustin Baker  |  

Jun 15, 2023

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.


It’s June 15th, and the items dominating the Minnesota Vikings post-minicamp news feed include Justin Jefferson’s eventual contract extension, plus Danielle Hunter’s holdout for a — you guessed it — contract extension.

The Quiet’ Other Guy’ Needing a Contract Extension from the Vikings

But don’t forget about the quiet ‘other guy’ who will soon be paid — tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded for Hockenson at last year’s trade deadline, and the man immediately seized Minnesota’s offense by the throat. In fact, onboarding Hockenson can reasonably be considered Adofo-Mensah’s wisest move to date as the Vikings boss.

Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) runs after a catch against the Washington Commanders during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.


Thankfully for the Vikings and the team’s fans’ sake, an upcoming Hockenson extension isn’t too mysterious — it just eventually has to get done. It’s akin to Jefferson’s status throughout the offseason, where Vikings leaders affirmed for five months that extending Jefferson was a no-brainer, yet the deal hasn’t been finalized.

Hockenson lives in that territory, too.

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during the first quarter against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.


ESPN’s Kevin Seifert opined on the Hockenson-Vikings situation this week, “While the Vikings’ financial attention has been occupied elsewhere this offseason, most notably in a complicated contract negotiation with All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson, it’s clear they plan to address Hockenson’s deal as well. Progress is more likely to take place later this summer.”

The 25-year-old grabbed 60 receptions in 10 games as a Viking, a pace fetching 102 catches if spanned to a 17-game season. The 60 receptions were also the most in NFL history by a tight end in his first 10 games with a franchise:

Most Receptions by a TE,
First 10 Games with a Franchise,
Since 1970

  1. T.J. Hockenson, MIN (60)
  2. Kellen Winslow, CLE (56)
  3. Keith Jackson, PHI (54)
  4. Tony Gonzalez, KC (52)
  5. Jermaine Wiggins, MIN (51)

Feb 4, 2023; Paradise, NV, USA; NFC tight end T.J. Hockenson of the Minnesota Vikings (87) during practice at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.


In late May, the Vikings conducted organized team activities (OTAs), and Hockenson spoke to reporters about his future. “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,” Hockenson said.

“This is a place obviously I want to be, and everything 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 to that. Again, I don’t look at that, but it’s great to be here right now,” he added.

Therefore, even as some Vikings fans and pundits absolutely insist the club is amid a full, tear-it-down rebuild, a Hockenson extension is imminent — directly contradicting the “they’re obviously tearing it down” talking point.

Hockenson is expected to earn north of $15 million per season via his next deal.

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