MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Detroit Lions traded tight end T.J. Hockenson to division rival Minnesota Vikings a few hours before the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday, which adds another skill-position standout to a high-caliber offense for the NFC North leader.
The Vikings simply downgraded two draft picks with no net loss to make the swap with the Lions. They sent a 2023 second-rounder and a 2024 third-rounder for the Lions, for a 2023 fourth-rounder and a conditional 2024 fourth-rounder. The Vikings announced the deal, pending completion of Hockenson passing a physical exam.
Hockenson has been one of the league’s most productive tight ends since the Lions picked him eighth overall in the first round of the 2019 draft out of Iowa. He made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and has 2,068 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 47 games.
The Lions (1-6) previously picked up Hockenson’s fifth-year contract option for 2023, so the Vikings (6-1) are getting more than just a half-season rental from a last-place team going through another rebuilding process.
The Vikings could be without primary tight end Irv Smith Jr. for multiple weeks after he sprained his ankle on Sunday against Arizona in what was their fifth straight win. Johnny Mundt, who caught his first career touchdown pass on Sunday is also in the mix. With backup Ben Ellefson on injured reserve, the Vikings recently signed six-year veteran Jacob Hollister for additional depth.