When the Detroit Lions selected tight end T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, I was extremely disappointed. I was not disappointed because I thought Hockenson was a bad player, but because I felt that spending top 10 draft capital on a tight end was a poor investment. At the time, I projected that Hockenson would eventually play in the Pro Bowl, but that still would not make it the correct pick. Apparently, Lions GM Brad Holmes puts a similar value on tight ends as I do as he recently traded Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. Since being traded to the Vikings, Hockenson has been nothing to call home about.
How has T.J. Hockenson played since being traded to the Minnesota Vikings?
Since being traded to the Vikings on November 1, T.J. Hockenson has pretty much been what he has been throughout his NFL career. There have been moments where he looks like a top tight end and moments where he is pretty much non-existent.
In five games with the Vikings, Hockenson has 30 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown. That averages out to six catches (solid) for 45 yards (not great) and 0.2 touchdowns per game. While with the Lions in 2022, he had 26 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns in seven games, which averages out to 3.7 catches for 56.4 yards and 0.43 touchdowns per game.
Without Hockenson in the lineup, the Lions' offense has not skipped a beat, and it could be argued that they have looked even better. In fact, without Hockenson, the Lions are now 4-1 and in their past four games, the offense is averaging 31.75 points per game.
On Sunday, T.J. Hockenson will make his return to Ford Field when the Lions host the Vikings. With a win, Hockenson and the Vikings will clinch first place in the NFC North.