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Trade Grade: Detroit Lions trade TE T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings

Image Credit: (Junfu Han /USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin:

Twitter: @nicholasmullick

I mean with today being the Trade Deadline there are teams trying to make last minute moves. Well some moves are blockbuster trades and this one involving T.J. Hockenson is one. Not only was it a blockbuster trade, but this came out of nowhere. The Lions have now traded Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings and the details of that trade are down below.

Detroit Lions Acquire: 2023 2nd Round Pick and 2024 3rd Round Pick Minnesota Vikings Acquire: TE T.J. Hockenson, a 2023 4th Round Pick, and a 2024 4th Round Pick

Detroit Lions Side

You know I really thought that I knew what the Lions were doing now that I thought they were heading in the right direction. With this trade being made I am more lost than I ever was in the Dan Campbell/Brad Holmes era.

Let's get one thing out of the way, Why are they trading a Top 5 or 10 tight end to a divisional rival? I mean I just don’t understand how Hockenson is a great player and you don’t want to face him twice in the season. Plus he could give intel on the Lions offense when the Vikings face them again later this season. If this pans out then they just supplied the Vikings with a weapon that could hurt them for many years to come.

I also hate what they acquired for Hockenson as well as he was worth way more than two draft pick upgrades. I get that the Lions did not want to extend him and wanted to get some value for him now before losing him for nothing. This trade just confuses me so much and it had to be due to contract negotiations falling through.

Hockenson would have been a piece to help with their rebuild once the Lions draft their QB of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft. Let's be real Jared Goff is not that consistent and he is not the guy as the long term QB. Hockenson would have been a great piece for their future QB to utilize.

Minnesota Vikings Side

I love it. This trade makes so much sense for the Vikings as they made a big mistake not re-signing Tyler Conklin. Plus it looks like Irv Smith yet again will not be available for the Vikings for probably the rest of the season.

Even if Smith returns this season, Hockenson is an immediate upgrade as Irv Smith is terrible. Plus he can’t stay on the football field and he is clearly not the option long term. With the Vikings only downgrading a few draft picks, it is totally worth it acquiring a Top 5 or 10 tight end in the NFL. The contract could be an issue, but when they stop giving fully guaranteed contracts to Kirk Cousins and restructure a few contracts, they should be able to afford it.

Hockenson is a great boost for the Vikings to help seal up this division. It is clear that the Lions are not going to win the division, Green Bay is a dysfunctional mess right now, and Chicago is trying to lose this season. This division is all Minnesota’s now and getting Hockenson will help seal the division for them.

Grades for T.J. Hockenson Trade

Detroit Lions: D

Minnesota Vikings: B+

No question that the Vikings win this trade. They got a Top 5 or 10 Tight end and did not have to sacrifice too much excluding downgrading picks to get him. The Vikings upgrade at tight end and give Kirk Cousins another target to throw too. The Lions again I am a bit lost with what they are doing with this deal. Hockenson would have been a good piece to have on offense when the Lions drafted their QB in the 2023 NFL Draft. Plus this could annoy people in the locker room as well because I have never once heard anything bad regarding Hockenson. Great move by Minnesota Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and interesting move by Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes. Hopefully this trade works out for all parties including TE T.J. Hockenson.


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