Insider Raises Red Flag About Vikings’ $66M Star: ‘Doom-&-Gloom’

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

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

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed fears that star tight end T.J. Hockenson tore multiple knee ligaments on December 26.

After one month, there haven’t been any official updates, leading to some outside concerns.

“Here’s some doom-and-gloom, something to think about: I checked this week on T.J. Hockenson,” Vikings insider Darren “Doogie” Wolfson said on “Mackey & Judd” on January 25. I texted one person who said when I asked, ‘Hey, did he undergo surgery yet?’ … This one person said, ‘Not to my knowledge.’

“When it’s multiple ligaments, it wasn’t going to be immediate. So it was always going to be mid-to-late January. But as we sit here on January 25th, I guess me personally, I’m still awaiting word that he’s undergone said surgery.”

Hockenson suffered the injury in the Vikings Week 16 loss to the Detroit Lions on a hit from safety Kerby Joseph.

Head Coach Kevin O’Connell announced the crushing update but was optimistic for Hockenson.

“Unfortunately for T.J., he’s you know going to be on the road to recovery, and I know he’ll attack that with all the resources we have in this building,” O’Connell told reporters on December 26. “Knowing T.J., the type of player he is, I’m absolutely looking forward to when we can get him back rolling and ready to have a great 2024 season.”

Hockenson set new career highs in receptions and receiving yards this season, falling just one touchdown short of tying his previously set high mark. He is starting a four-year, $66 million contract this coming season.

“Here’s my concern: what does he look like in the year after,” host Judd Zulgad asked. “How long does the ramp-up then take for him to become T.J. Hockenson again? That’s my worry.”

Both Wolfson and Zulgad agreed that it is a long shot for Hockenson to be ready by Week 1.

T.J. Hockenson is Not Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyAdrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings.

“When this all transpired after the loss to Detroit here, I saw immediately, ‘Well, Adrian Peterson…’. Okay, he was a freak. You cannot compare the recovery of a guy who was a physical freak to a big tight end,” Zulgad said. “Peterson is the outlier. He is not the norm.”

Peterson recovered from a torn ACL and MCL suffered in 2011 in less than 10 months to play in all 16 games the following season and lead the league in rushing.

He ran for over 2,000 yards.

Peterson’s remarkable recovery facilitated a successful end to his run with the Vikings that saw him cross the 1,000-yard mark two more times and lead the league in carries and rushing in 2015.

Hockenson is the same age as Peterson was when his injury occurred. But that is where the similarities end.

For the Vikings, a full and speedy recovery should be the goal for Hockenson.

Justin Jefferson Calls Out NFL’s Social Media Team Over T.J. Hockenson

Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson #18 and T.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings players can only watch these playoffs, and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson didn’t like what he saw from the Lions’ Wild Card victory over the Los Angeles Rams. It was a sign celebrating the Lions’ path to the Divisional Round.

The sign used Lions head coach Dan Campbell’s quote about biting kneecaps from his introductory press conference alongside the Vikings’ and Rams’ respective logos.

Los Angeles lost tight end Tyler Higbee to a similar injury on a hit from Joesph.