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Almost immediately upon joining the Minnesota Vikings, T.J. Hockenson took his game to a new level. After arriving via trade midway through the 2022 season, the veteran tight end racked up 60 catches for 519 yards and three scores across 10 games with his new team. He was even better in 2023, operating as the team's No. 1 target for a long stretch of the season while Justin Jefferson sat out with an injury and catching 95 passes for 960 yards and five scores.

But Hockenson suffered a devastating knee injury during the Vikings' Week 16 loss to the division rival Detroit Lions, tearing his ACL and MCL on a low hit from Lions safety Kerby Joseph. Hockenson, who had to wait five weeks for the swelling to go down before having surgery in late January, said this week there's no timeline just yet for his return to the field.

"They [Vikings] haven't really put a timeline on it," Hockenson said, via NFL Media. "We're just kinda taking it day by day, week by week. There's just so many variables that you can go through in this process. I'm doing really good right now. We're attacking each process. I'm attacking each one and it's been awesome. The progression has been incredible."

T.J. Hockenson
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Hockenson should again be one of the top options in the passing game when he does return, teaming with Jefferson and Jordan Addison to help J.J. McCarthy in his development. But given his four-year, $66 million contract that runs through 2027, it wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings played things carefully when it comes to his return. 

Minnesota has Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt and the recently signed Robert Tonyan to fill in at tight end for however long Hockenson remains sidelined. And while they aren't the pass-catching force Hockenson is, they can help the team get by with their contributions in the run game. 

It might take a while for Hockenson to get back up to speed, but once he does, he can give the offense an even greater lift.