T.J. Hockenson Expected to Miss Large Chunk of Vikings Season

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings star Tight End T.J. Hockenson was acquired by the Vikings at the trade deadline during the 2022-23 NFL season from the Detroit Lions. The trade immediately produced dividends for the Vikings where he excelled in the the second half of the 2022 season and most of the 2023 season.

In week 16 last season, Hockenson sustained a dirty hit to the knee by Lions Safety Kirby Joseph. He was immediately ruled out of the game and was later diagnosed with a torn ACL and MCL to his right knee. He’s been recovering from that knee injury since.

When will T.J. Hockenson return to Minnesota Vikings?

The Minnesota Vikings and Head Coach Kevin O’Connell have been pretty vague this offseason regarding T.J.’s timeline for return, however, we may have gotten some clarity on his timeline from local beat reporter Ben Goessling (Star Tribune).

I would imagine [T.J. Hockenson is] on the PUP list through six weeks. Week six bye is conveniently timed here. And then, oh, look who’s on the schedule week seven. Lions. His old buddy, Kirby Joseph.

Ben Goessling – Minnesota Vikings Beat Writer for the Star Tribune via Access Vikings

According to Goessling via Access Vikings Podcast, he imagines T.J. Hockenson will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Any player on the PUP list before seasons start is required to miss at least four games.

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Goessling then hints that they could hold him out of the week five trip to London against the New York Jets and use the bye week in week six for additional recovery time. T.J. would then make his 2024-25 season debut against his former team at U.S. Bank Stadium in week seven and Kirby Joseph, the Lions player who injured him last season.

T.J. Hockenson Recovery Timeline

Although nothing concrete from the team has been relayed to the fans regarding his approximate return from his knee injury, this nugget from Goessling has been one of the more specific reports on when we can expect him to return.

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It does sound like Hockenson’s recovery is going well, but the Vikings want to make sure he’s 100% healthy before returning to the field. There’s no reason to rush him given the value he brings to this team and the investment the Vikings have put into him.

At this point, it’s pretty clear Hockenson won’t be ready for the season. The Vikings have invested a lot in tight ends this offseason and currently have seven on the roster. By far the most of any team this season. Hopefully we see Hockenson sooner rather than later but patience on his return is likely needed.

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