With Justin Jefferson on injured reserve, T.J. Hockenson has become even more central to the Minnesota Vikings‘ offensive production. The veteran tight end appeared to suffer an injury against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football — what’s the latest on Hockenson?
T.J. Hockenson Injury Update
Hockenson was initially shaken up after a second-quarter play on which Vikings running back Cam Akers took a reception 30 yards to the 49ers’ 2-yard line.
Although Hockenson hobbled off the field, ESPN broadcaster Joe Buck quickly pointed out that O’Connell yelled, “T.J., go down!” at Hockenson after the play.
TJ Hockenson appeared to suffer a knee injury but was it perhaps because head coach Kevin O’Connell told him to go down 🤔 pic.twitter.com/sExlPmYhnE
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) October 24, 2023
Buck theorized that O’Connell wanted to give his team a breather without wasting a timeout, a massive no-no in the eyes of the NFL. Were that the case, O’Connell and the Vikings could be subject to a significant fine from the league office.
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However, Buck later indicated that Hockenson was “gimpy getting up,” suggesting that O’Connell saw his tight end struggling and wanted to ensure he was given time to get off the field. Hockenson returned to the game on the Vikings’ next drive.
Hockenson then went down again near the end of the third quarter. While this injury initially appeared more serious, he again returned to the field several plays later.
What Would the Vikings’ Offense Look Like Without Hockenson?
Before his injury in the second quarter, Hockenson snagged five receptions for 58 yards against the 49ers. He was expected to see a significantly larger role in the Vikings’ passing game with Justin Jefferson on injured reserve.
If Hockenson misses any time in the coming weeks, Josh Oliver would see more snaps at tight end, while K.J. Osborn and Jordan Addison would likely see more looks from Kirk Cousins.
— PFN Fantasy Analyst Derek Tate