Report: T.J. Hockenson wants to reset NFL TE market with ‘historic’ extension

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson reportedly wants to reset the tight end market with his next contract.

Hockenson, who was acquired by the Vikings last season in a deal with the Detroit Lions, is in the final season of his rookie contract. He and Minnesota reportedly are far apart on extension talks.

Hockenson will play the 2023 season on his fifth-year option, which is worth over $9 million. A first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Hockenson has dealt with some injuries in his NFL career, appearing in just 12 games in his first and third seasons in the league.

Despite that, he’s been extremely productive when he’s been on the field.

Last season, Hockenson played well for the Vikings in 10 games following the trade from Detroit. He caught 60 of his 86 targets for 519 yards and three touchdowns. It was a huge step forward from his seven games with Detroit in the 2022 campaign. With the Lions, Hockenson made just 26 catches for 395 yards on 43 targets.

The Vikings have a solid young receiving corps that features superstar Justin Jefferson and 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison. Hockenson should be able to thrive working alongside those two young receivers.

Right now, the highest paid tight end in the NFL is New York Giants tight end Darren Waller. The Giants star has an average annual salary of $17 million, $2 million higher than San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.

To reset the market, Hockenson has to be looking for a contract that would pay him more than $17 million on average.

It will be interesting to see if Minnesota is willing to pay him that much, especially since Jefferson will be due for a contract extension sooner rather than later.

The Vikings gave up multiple draft picks for Hockenson before the 2022 trade deadline. In the deal, the Lions received a 2023 second-round pick and 2024 third-round pick from Minnesota.

The Vikings got Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round selection and conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. While that’s not a ton of draft capital that was given up, it’s still enough for the team to consider keeping him long term.

If the Vikings and Hockenson can’t come to terms on an extension, he’d become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023 season, and Minnesota could lose him for nothing after he spent less than two full seasons with the franchise.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.