TJ Hockenson Reportedly Ahead of Schedule on Knee Rehab, but Vikings in No Hurry

TJ Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings had a difficult 2023 season, troubles started and ended with injuries. Kirk Cousins was lost for the season in week 8, Justin Jefferson missed seven games and TJ Hockenson, who battled a varying degree of injuries all year, had his season end with a blown up knee via Kirby Joseph, his former Detroit Lions teammate.

Because of they surgery TJ had to undergo, he had to wait weeks after the injury, before he could be operated on and start his rehab. But since that day, Hockenson has been surging forward with a determination that reportedly has him ahead of schedule in a rehab plan that is expected to bleed into the Minnesota Vikings’ 2024 regular season.

TJ Hockenson ahead of rehab schedule… but not so fast

Credit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

According to Alec Lewis (The Athletic) however, that doesn’t mean he will return ahead of schedule. The Vikings seem to have made it clear to the young beat writer that they plan to protect their tight end investment at every turn of his rehabilitation, even if it means sticking to the original timeline, even though his body might be ahead of schedule.

Hockenson is ahead of schedule in his rehab, but the Vikings are committed to ensuring he is fully healthy before he plays. Last year’s contract cemented the team’s belief that he is one of its cornerstone players. You don’t rush a player like that back from an injury this severe.

Alec Lewis – The Athletic

Minnesota Vikings in no hurry…

Prior to his injury, TJ Hockenson was proving to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL and earning every penny of the fresh 4-year, $16.5 million per season contract that he had signed just before the start of the Minnesota Vikings season.

Related: Dalton Risner’s Asking Price is Reportedly Too Expensive for Vikings

While head coach Kevin O’Connell patiently waits for his TE1 to return, the Vikings seem to be comfortable with their main backup option, Josh Oliver, but also their depth at the position, including dependable blockers/targets Johnny Mundt and Nick Muse.

Oliver and Mundt will fill in if Hockenson misses the first couple of weeks, while Muse is a trusty depth option who occupies one of the last roster spots and eliminates some further flexibility defensively.

Alec Lewis – The Athletic

Lewis expects all four to be on roster, even when all of them are healthy.

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