May 25, 2024

Hockenson discusses recovery, facing Cousins

During an appearance on the NFL Network “NFL Schedule Release ’24” program, Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson discussed when he may be ready to take the field following the brutal knee injury he suffered on Christmas Eve.

“They haven’t really put a timeline on it,” Hockenson revealed, according to Grant Gordon of the NFL’s website. “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.”

Specifically, Hockenson suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Minnesota’s Week 16 loss to the Detroit Lions. It seems unlikely that the 26-year-old will be ready for Week 1, but he isn’t yet ruling out the possibility that he could play when the Vikings face the Jets at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Oct. 6. 

“Going overseas, expanding the league and the NFL and the fanbase, across, not just the nation, but the world is just super exciting for the Minnesota Vikings,” Hockenson remarked.

Per ESPN stats, Hockenson finished this past regular season leading the Vikings with 95 receptions and 127 targets. He also recorded 960 receiving yards and five touchdown grabs for a campaign that began with quarterback Kirk Cousins featuring for Minnesota. Cousins, of course, signed with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. 

The Vikings will welcome Cousins and Atlanta to Minnesota in Week 14 of the upcoming season. 

“It’s gonna be for sure weird to see Kirko in a Falcons jersey,” Hockenson admitted. 

Like Hockenson, Cousins is working to recover from a serious physical setback. The 35-year-old suffered a torn right Achilles on Oct. 29 during what proved to be his final game as an active Minnesota player. Cousins said on Wednesday he’s on track to play in Week 1.

“He’s one of those guys that’s going to attack his rehab, as well,” Hockenson said about his former teammate. “He’s gonna come back and be the same player he was [before] he was hurt. It’s gonna be, obviously, a challenge to go up against him. But we’re in purple now and he’s gonna be on the other side, so we’ll treat him as so.”

It’s unclear if veteran Sam Darnold or rookie J.J. McCarthy will be the Vikings’ starting quarterback for their regular-season opener at the New York Giants on Sept. 8. Hockenson eventually will work to build chemistry with either signal-caller, but he first must focus on getting right coming off a worrisome injury.