An intra-NFC North trade is going down. The Lions are sending tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Acquired before the current Detroit regime arrived, Hockenson is under contract through 2023. Four picks are being exchanged in this deal. The Vikings are sending their division rivals a 2023 second-round pick and a 2023 third-rounder, Schefter tweets. The Vikings will receive Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-rounder and a conditional 2024 fourth. The Vikings announced the trade.
The Vikings are making this move in part because their current top tight end — Irv Smith Jr. — is set to miss time with a high ankle sprain. Hockenson, whom the Lions chose eighth overall in the 2019 draft, will be a higher-profile piece in the Vikings’ offense. At 6-1, the Vikings are dealing into their future asset war chest to add a key playmaker for Kirk Cousins. Smith is expected to be sidelined at least eight weeks, Schefter tweets, helping to explain the big price the Vikings will pay for an upgrade.
This trade comes months after the Vikings traded their No. 12 overall pick to the Lions, who moved up 20 spots to draft Jameson Williams. The Vikes have not shied away from intra-division moves under rookie GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Following the trade-down maneuver with the Lions, Adofo-Mensah traded back with the Packers in the second round, giving Green Bay the Christian Watson draft slot (No. 34 overall).
The Lions now have acquired future assets to help their rebuild. They now own two first-rounders and two seconds in the 2023 draft. Hockenson, 25, represented the final pass-catching piece from the Bob Quinn regime. The Lions had been linked to a possible Hockenson extension; instead, the Brad Holmes regime will start over at tight end.
Although various injuries have cropped up for Hockenson during his four-year Motor City run, he has not missed more than five games in a season. The Iowa product has a 700-plus-yard season on his resume (2020, his Pro Bowl campaign) and hauled in 61 passes for 583 yards and four touchdowns last season — a 12-game slate. This year, Hockenson has 26 receptions for 395 yards and three TDs. The 15.2-yard average, albeit in just seven games, represents by far a career-high mark for the 6-foot-5 pass catcher. Hockenson is tied to a $965K base salary and will be tethered to a fully guaranteed $9.39MM fifth-year option price in 2023.
Minnesota’s passing attack has featured steady Nos. 1 and 2 options for many years, with Justin Jefferson taking over for Stefon Diggs alongside Adam Thielen. The Vikings deployed Kyle Rudolph as their top tight end through the 2020 season and have seen some contributions from Smith. But the former second-rounder out of Alabama missed all of 2021 due to injury and is averaging just 7.6 yards per catch (22 receptions, 168 yards, two TDs) this season. Smith, who caught five touchdown passes in 2020, will move toward the fringes of Minnesota’s aerial hierarchy when he returns from injury. The second-generation NFLer is in a contract year.
At 6-1, the Vikings hold the NFC’s second-best record. They are 3.5 games up in the NFC North and have the tiebreaker over the Packers, who have won this division three years running. With the Packers scuffling and the Lions and Bears rebuilding, the red carpet is laid out for the Vikings to book their first home playoff game in five years. The franchise’s first-year regime parting with two Day 2 assets certainly signals it recognizes the opportunity here.
35 comments on “Lions Trade TE T.J. Hockenson To Vikings”
Pretty good haul for Hockenson. But the picks are only good if they draft well.
I feel like this regime has drafted pretty well only pick I’ve really been again was Josh Paschal in the second because I felt there was higher ceiling guys but they did really well in 2021 and Aidan has been a monster so hoping they can turn it around
Big move for the Vikings.
The Twitter link says 2 picks to Detroit and 2 picks to Minnesota, not 4 picks to Detroit. In any event, big moves inter division action!
The article states 4 picks are being exchanged in the deal, not that they’re all going to Detroit
Tell me how many Lions’ historical second round picks are on their roster. They do terrible in the second round.
Lions are rebuilding again before their current rebuild is over. “Trust the process”
Don’t worry. They’re two years away from being two years away
Can you really rebuild if you’ve never built in the first place?
That’s not true. They have built a very nice dumpster fire.
Are the lions in rebuild again
We never get out of it. It keeps it fresh every year with lost hope.
Yeah, I don’t get this. The Lions’ passing game actually isn’t bad. They have turnover issues and problems in the secondary as their biggest concerns, but Hockenson wasn’t holding them back. They didn’t even get very much to help a divisional rival. This wouldn’t be a bad trade for a disappointment or a player at the end of his contract, but I think that most of us saw Hockenson being up for an extension at the end of his deal. The Lions aren’t really at the point of being sellers yet-they should be adding talent, not dealing what they have.
You have to figure that Goff is only starting until the rest of the team is brought up to speed, which would likely take only one or two years of good offseasons. The Lions’ passing offense, again, hasn’t been that bad for a unit that could use a few more pieces. To see them deal one that could have benefitted from some of those is odd to me. Goff really is not nearly as bad as people have said (actually decent this year), but you do figure that you could upgrade at that position if you get a good chance, which would help everybody. The Lions must have really been down on Hockenson in house to deal him so readily.
He wanted top 5 TE money and the Lions didn’t want to commit that to a luxury position.
Trading inside the division. Not a smart move.
The only reason is because it makes fans cry about the move more. As a lions fan, I personally don’t care. Still like the prospect of the Jameson Williams draft day trade with the vikings too.
Nice returns. He’s a good player, but a solid tight end is only moving the needle so much.
Facts .. it’s not like we traded Kelce or Andrews.. Hock was good player who was always on the verge “breaking out” and just never seemed to happen.. Getting two top 100 picks for him could end up being a steal .. And hell maybe the Vikings could get more outta him then we did
It would be, if the Lions didn’t give up picks of their own to help facilitate the trade. If Hockenson was dealt for those picks straight up, I think that the deal would be easier to accept. I just think that one at least will be used to replace him, which would really mean that Detroit only actually moved ahead a pick from where they were with a solid tight end. Thing is, it’s not really moving up much, since they also sent the fourth rounders over. It’s not much of a net gain for Detroit.
It’s relative. They had no tight end.
If the reported compensation is true this is a horrible trade for the Lions. Should’ve kept Hockenson and either resigned him or got a compensatory pick if he left via FA.
A 2nd and a 3rd is fine compensation, its tossing in 2 picks of their own that doesn’t make much sense.
Without the two added picks, this trade just becomes dependent on how good Hockenson is to decide its value. This is more of a “get out of town” trade than a “look at what we got” trade, which I don’t get.
One of the 4th’s becomes a 5th if the Vikings win a playoff game.
I like this move for Minnesota
Good for Hockenson. He escaped the garbage organization before he wasted his career there like so many others.
Detroit could still net about 1000 pts of trade value, assuming Minnesota makes it into Divisional Round. Per Overthecap.com a 4th round pick rates from 541-682 points. How much value this provides Detroit is somewhat dependent upon the conditions tied to the 2024 pick.
The last five 2nd Rd picks by Detroit are:
2022 – Paschal 2 games this season after IR start 90% of Def snaps
2021 – Onwuzurike 37% Def 19% ST snaps in 2021, on IR for 2022
2020 – Swift 13 games each in 2020/2021 only 4 this season
2019 – Tavai – with NE, has played 54% Def and 57% ST snaps this year after a bust on the 2021 season in NE.
2018 – Kerryon Johnson – Out of Football
All things considered, they should take their two 2023 2nd round picks and trade them for a new strength and conditioning coach.
Obviously Detroit is not planning on competing until Hockenson begins the inevitable TE bad knee decline.
They weren’t ready to pay him top 5 tight end money or franchise him at the end of the season
This is a good deal for the Vikings, imo. They got him for what will be low 2nd and 3rd round picks for a high 4th round in both years. I assume the Lions will be bad next year, too.
The picks Detroit got will only benefit them if they remove dumb Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes are removed. If they’re rebuilding…again…start at the top. Get a competent coach and an experienced GM…not these two goofs.
To rebuild would require you to have built something. The Lions are a fun team but this trade honestly makes no sense.
You give up your future rookie QBs security blanket and two 4’s for a couple of lottery tickets? Idk.
I’m disappointed with the return Detroit received, but what can you do.