Friday, September 01, 2023

Vikings' T.J. Hockenson to sign historic deal for tight ends, source says



Aug 31, 2023, 11:09 AM ET


Minnesota Vikings star T.J. Hockenson will sign a four-year, $68.5 million contract extension that resets the tight end market, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Vikings announced a new deal for Hockenson but did not disclose terms. A source told Schefter that the average annual value of the deal is $17.125 million and that Hockenson will make $42.5 million guaranteed -- both the highest for a tight end in NFL history.

"He fits our culture," Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Thursday. "He's the type of player we want in Minnesota. I'm really excited to get it done."

Hockenson quickly became one of quarterback Kirk Cousins' top targets after a mid-season trade from the Detroit Lions, hauling in 60 receptions for 519 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. The two-time Pro Bowler finished second among NFL tight ends last season with 86 receptions for 914 yards in 17 combined games with Minnesota and Detroit.

"Our hopes were that we were acquiring a player that would become a major part of our offense moving forward," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said Thursday. "We saw the immediate impact over those 10 games -- 11 games. We've been able to build on T.J.'s role here, and really have a great process in the offseason of what it's really going to look like in our offensive system for a major player like T.J. to be a part of it."

Hockenson, 26, had missed significant time during training camp and the preseason for multiple reasons, including an ear infection and a sore back, according to the Vikings.

Hockenson and the Vikings both repeatedly had attributed his absence to the health issues, not his contract situation. O'Connell said Thursday he feels "very good" about Hockenson's availability for Week 1 of the regular season.

"I don't think there was ever any sense of quid pro quo or anything like that. ... I know there is a business aspect to things and ultimately, I can't tell you anything for certain," Adofo-Mensah. "But I didn't view it as that at all. I felt like there was a process that needed to play out and ultimately it ended up here and we're excited about that."

The Vikings sent a 2023 second-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round draft pick to the Lions for Hockenson and two draft picks (a fourth-round draft pick in 2023 and a conditional draft pick in 2024).

With Hockenson locked up for the long term, the Vikings have one more contract situation to resolve with a pending extension for superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who still has two years left on his rookie deal.


ESPN's Kevin Seifert and Jeremy Fowler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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