A look back at TJ Hockenson’s huge Vikings debut

Photo: Scott Taetsch - Getty Images

TJ Hockenson would have been forgiven for missing the game against the Washington Commanders. The deal to sign him was only finished on Tuesday, so to be playing for a new team on the following Sunday could have been seen as part of a step too far for many people. However, the moment the deal, which included two draft picks going to the Lions, was completed, Hockenson put his nose to the grindstone to make sure that he was ready to play.

Hockenson lands

When the deal was completed, it took a lot of work from all parties to make sure that TJ was ready to play. First up, it meant that Hockenson had to be ready to work hard. Many within Minnesota were betting on him not being up to speed for the game. TJ decided that he was ready to take that bet and put in the work.

It wasn’t in terms of fitness that was required, TJ has kept himself in fantastic shape and his body was ready to start playing right away. What was needed was the ability to fit into a complex offensive system right from the start. He threw himself into work right away and his work ethic and dedication ensured that he was able to learn the plan incredibly fast.

He worked with Angelichio and Blough to make sure that he was fully integrated in the system. It’s a process that can often take some people around five or six months to completely learn. The fact that Hockenson managed to learn it in five days and then perform it to an incredibly high level, shows just what a top-class player the Vikings have brought in.

High-level performance

The signing of Hockenson is definitely something that the Vikings feel will help them towards the Super Bowl. With some of the lowest passing yards in the NFL, it’s not a shock that they looked to bring in a top-class tight end. In this game alone, it looked as though Hockenson was a smart acquisition. He caught every single ball that was thrown towards him, for a total of 70 yards. It was an instant impact that many in Minnesota felt was needed by the team.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it was just a first game masterclass, which can happen from time to time. However, Hockenson isn’t some young kid that has pulled out a surprise performance. He’s been performing at a high level for quite a while now, and it’s not a surprise that he managed to do this in his debut. By adding a little more ball retention to the squad, it means that the Vikings look to be a much more dangerous proposition for any team in the NFL to face.

More to come

Obviously, the fact that Hockenson managed to achieve this in just five days of training shows his quality. It’s only sensible to assume that his performance level will improve as time goes on. The Vikings offensive system is known for being one of the more complex to understand. So, the fact that TJ managed to do this so early suggests that there is more to come in the future.

With the comeback victory still fresh in the minds of many, there is a good chance that this new-look Vikings offense could become one of the more feared in the league.

Future developments

The Vikings are likely to add even more quality to their roster in the off-season too. So, although they have lost two draft picks to bring in Hockenson, they will still be in an excellent position to make the roster a stronger one next year. With tough games already gone, and more to come, this season might be a step too far to win the Super Bowl.

They are likely to push forwards to build a strong roster for the future. This could lead to an era of domination for the team from Minnesota. Hockenson is definitely a shining light and if more smart signings are made, then the Vikings will be in a very positive position. Most Vikings fans are hoping that the 70 yards from Hockenson will be the start of a successful period for both the new signing and the team.