TJ Hockenson Still Mad Over Knee Injury

Minnesota Vikings T.J. Hockenson
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

In the last couple of seasons, Minnesota Vikings star tight end T.J. Hockenson really proved himself as one of the best tight ends in the league. But everything took a turn when he suffered a serious knee injury on December 24th during Week 16 of last season. He’s been on a long, winding road to recovery ever since.

TJ Hockenson still mad about his knee injury

Today, TJ, Brian O’Neill and head coach Kevin O’Connell met with media members for the start of a voluntary offseason workout that Justin Jefferson did not attend. During his interview session, Hockenson didn’t hold back in expressing frustration he still harbors against the NFL, relating back to the knee injury that cost him his second ever playoff appearance and, more than likely, the start of 2024.

“You can’t cut [block] outside the tackle box, so it doesn’t make any sense why these guys are able to go as low as they are. When you’re 25 yards downfield, looking back at the quarterback, you don’t have any awareness, you know. And then to have that happen again, two weeks [after the same thing happened to Tyler Boyd], I didn’t really like that. That’s probably the most I’ll say on that, but I definitely don’t think I have it against the player as much as the league putting the defense in those positions, in order to have to do that.”

TJ Hockenson

Hockenson is stepping forward and expressing his thoughts directly to the NFL, which took steps to prohibit “hip drop” tackles this offseason, but not lunging hits below the knee on defenseless receivers, like what happened to the Vikings’ tight end.

Related: Report: Vikings Trying to Keep No. 23 Pick in Trade Up

Hockenson’s season came to a close on week 16, thanks to a hit from Kirby Joseph, his former teammate in Detroit, and after watching the tape, he admits he doesn’t think it was intentional. Nevertheless, he clearly wanted to use his time today to make sure that other players across the league are looking out for the safety of fellow players. While he doesn’t think Joseph’s hit was intentionally dirty… he isn’t willing to totally rule it out either.

“I know Kerby pretty well. I’ve played with him. I don’t necessarily think it was (intentional), you go back on the tape and you see what happened, but I know him. I don’t think it was. I just want to make sure it wasn’t and that’s why I’m using my voice here. Players protect players and that’s in any facet of the league. You don’t want a defensive guy head hunting, you don’t want a defensive guy knee hunting and the same thing for an offensive guy.”

TJ Hockenson

Minnesota Vikings star tight end: Concussion > Knee injury

T.J. Hockenson’s return timeline remains uncertain, and there’s speculation that he could potentially miss the beginning of the 2024-25 regular season. With several months remaining in his recovery process, it’s still too early to determine when the star tight end will be back in action for the Vikings offense.

Hockenson notably mentions that he would prefer to have had a concussion over the knee injury he suffered. He points out that a concussion would have sidelined him for only a couple of weeks instead of nearly an entire year.

While that might seem like an easy statement for him to make, considering the lengthy recovery process he’s facing, the long term conversations surrounding head injuries is a heavy one. Here is a clip from his session today, including most of the quotes in this article. His entire interview can be seen here.

“I wasn’t too happy about [the hit that caused my injury], that’s not a fun one to take. And that’s not necessarily based on [Kirby Joseph] as a player. I got nothing against him and I’ve played with him in Detroit. I understand that’s kind of what they expect you to do in the league. But, on the same hand, I would have much rather gone down with a concussion for two weeks than deal with this for 9 months. That’s definitely a different conversation.”

TJ Hockenson

Hockenson has a history of injuries, having dealt with various injuries while playing for both the Lions and the Vikings, occasionally missing games. He even suffered a concussion back in 2019. That’s why it’s quite unexpected to hear him express a preference for a concussion over his current knee injury.

Despite the fact that recovery from a concussion is typically easier and quicker, he’s just itching to get back out on the field and contribute to the purple.

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