TJ Hockenson’s Surgically Repaired Knee Feels Good Enough to Squat More Than You Do

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Spotting a chance to improve the roster, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah executed a rare in-division trade with the Detroit Lions to land T.J. Hockenson during the 2022 season. This is the reason the Minnesota Vikings don’t have their own third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

When healthy (and oftentimes when not healthy), Hockenson has been highly productive since touching down in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, recording 1,479 yards across 25 games, an average of 59.2 yards per contest. This is vastly better than he performed in Detroit, averaging 44 yards per game.

Then, Hockenson suffered season-ending ACL and MCL tears in his right knee, during a week 16 30-24 loss vs Detroit. Despite suffering the injury on Dec. 24, Hockenson wasn’t able to have surgery on the knee until the swelling had dissipated, over a month after the injury occurred, on Jan. 29.

TJ Hockenson’s surgically repaired knee looks pretty good…

T.J. Hockenson minnesota vikings
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Due to his delays in having surgery, which were entirely out of his and the Vikings’ control, the belief is that Hockenson may not be ready to resume game action until October, which fits the normal nine-month timetable to recover from such an injury.

That is, unless Hockenson can smash his rehab process and beat timeline projections based on how long it typically takes for a return from such injuries/procedures in the past. And I’m no doctor… but from the looks of a post that surfaced Wednesday on social media, that’s exactly what the two-time Pro Bowl tight end is trying to do.

Seeing Hockenson crush his rehab is incredible. Him even having that much confidence in his surgically-repaired knee, less than two months after having a major procedure is impressive. Of course, it’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between simply bending a knee (albeit with a lot of weight on it), vs EVERYTHING a knee has to be capable of on a football field (take hits, change direction, cut, juke, etc).

Minnesota Vikings season will start with or without TJ

Still, it’s encouraging to see Hockenson doing so well. The last time Vikings fans saw him perform, it left them with a broken heart, wondering how long it would be until the former Iowa star returned in purple. Based on this short clip, it’s safe to assume Hockenson’s doing quite well in his recovery process.

Related: Vikings Have Speed Date Scheduled with Jayden Daniels After LSU Pro Day

With Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse still on roster, the Vikings should have more than enough tight end depth to start the season, if Hock can’t quite make it back in time. Don’t be surprised if Kwesi adds another late-round or undrafted prospect to that room, to help ensure there have enough bodies in training camp.

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