Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson Sends Fired-Up Message to New Teammate

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty T.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson is not rushing his return from a torn ACL and MCL.

While missing the two-time Pro Bowler is an ominous proposition, the Vikings have already made a contingency plan. They signed veteran Robert Tonyan, who has spent time with the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers in his career.

Upon announcement of Tonyan’s signing, Hockenson sent a one-word message to his new teammate.

“LFG, Bobby!!!,” Hockenson posted on X on May 16. “#skol”

Tonyan, 30, is coming off a tough stint with the Bears, posting 11 receptions for 112 yards and zero touchdowns – a first in his career – last season. That is fewer receptions and yardage than incumbents Johnny Mundt and Josh Oliver.

However, Tonyan caught 123 passes for 1,260 yards and 15 touchdowns over the previous three seasons.

He is also stepping into a scheme that has proven to be friendly to the position.

Details of Tonyan’s current deal have not emerged yet. He is coming off a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Bears. And he has earned $12 million in his career. Coming off a down year and given the late timing of his signing, Tonyan’s contract shouldn’t break the bank.

T.J. Hockenson Doubles Down on Timeline for Return

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyT.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis reported on May 6 that Hockenson was “ahead of schedule.” But the dynamic tight end stopped short of putting himself on any sort of schedule once again.

“They haven’t really put a timeline on it,” Hockenson said, per’s Grant Gordon on May 15. “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.

Those comments align with Hockenson’s previous remarks to Vikings media.

There has been speculation that Hockenson could miss the first six weeks of the 2024 season. And when asked about the possibility he could make it back by Week 1, the former Lion was optimistically nebulous in his response.

“I think anything is possible,” Hockenson told reporters on April 14. “I’m definitely not going to put a timeline on just because I haven’t really looked at the whole aspect of things.”

Hockenson set career highs with 95 receptions and 960 yards with five touchdowns in 2023.

He did so despite missing the last two games, which could have allowed him to surpass his previous career-high mark in touchdowns too. That underscores how critical his absence could be to the offense and the need to add someone like Tonyan.

T.J. Hockenson Joins Justin Jefferson, Vikings Support for Timberwolves

Naz Reid, Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Vikings

GettyNaz Reid #11 and Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hockenson was one of several Vikings players who showed their support for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who defeated the reigning champion Denver Nuggets to move on to the Western Conference Finals.

“LFG!!!!!” Hockenson posted on X after the Timberwolves’ 98-90 comeback victory over the Nuggets on May 19.

“LETS GOOOOO @Timberwolves,” Justin Jefferson said in his reaction post.

Harrison Phillips echoed Jefferson’s sentiments while linebacker Brian Asamoah simply posted “Naz” referring to Timberwolves’ big man Naz Reid, whose clutch play down the stretch helped seal the victory.

Jordan Addison attended Game 6 in Minnesota on May 17 – along with Jefferson and Head Coach Kevin O’Connell – and called for Game 7.

He reposted those images with the caption “indeed” after the series ended.