The Minnesota Vikings are off to a red-hot 6-1 start after defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8. Just one game behind the undefeated 7-0 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC, and already holding first place in the NFC North, Minnesota decided not to just stand pat at the 2022-23 NFL season trade deadline, but rather make an aggressive push to go all-in this year.

The Vikings agreed to terms with an in-division rival, the Detroit Lions, to acquire tight end T.J. Hockenson in exchange for a slew of draft picks:

  • 2023 2nd-round pick
  • 2023 3rd-round pick
  • 2024 4th-round pick
  • 2024 4th-round pick (conditional)

Minnesota is exceeding expectations this season, and their offense has hardly been the side of the ball asking for more help. The Vikings are 10th in the league in points per game through seven games, with 23 points or more in six contests and 28 points or more in four of them, all wins.

But now Kirk Cousins gets another weapon, as if he didn’t have enough already with top receiver Justin Jefferson, elusive running back Dalvin Cook, and sturdy veteran Adam Thielen. Now, Cousins gets an athletic, 6-foot-5 tight 25-year-old tight end who may not have even hit his peak yet on his side.

Hockenson has amassed 186 catches for 2,068 yards and 15 touchdowns over four seasons and 47 games in his young NFL career. This year with the Lions, the former Iowa Hawkeye has hauled in 26 passes for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns through seven games. Hockenson is posting a career-high 15.2 yards per catch this season, emerging as a big-bodied deep threat down field. Hockenson has scored on 12% of his catches this season, and picked up first downs on 65% of his catches.

With defenses already accounting for Minnesota’s existing weapons, it will be hard to keep everyone covered with Hockenson added to the mix.

From the Lions perspective, the in-division trade is a bit surprising, but at 1-6, the ship has sailed on Detroit’s season. Hockenson could have been a valuable asset moving forward but instead, the Lions opt to unload the young tight end in exchange for up to four players (all in the 4th-round or better) over the next two years.

Will the trade help the Vikings secure an NFC North title, or even the NFC itself? What record do you think Minnesota will finish with this season? Join the conversation with Sak Sports Blog on Twitter or comment below!




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Header Photo Credits: NFL/Detroit Lions

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