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Hockenson – Irv Smith Jr., the starting tight end for the Vikings, suffered a high-ankle sprain during the game that they won on Sunday against the Cardinals, and the team put him on injured reserve on Tuesday because of the injury.

They have now succeeded in hiring his replacement from one of their competitors in the division. An NFL insider for CBS Sports HQ named Josina Anderson has reported that the Vikings have acquired former Pro Bowler T.J. Hockenson from the Lions in exchange for a trade including draft picks.

Hockenson, who is now 25 years old and was selected by Detroit with the eighth overall pick in the draft just three short years ago, is largely regarded as being among the best young players at his position.

The former Iowa standout was traded to his NFC North rivals along with a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. He is signed through 2023 as a result of a fifth-year option that will pay him $9.4 million the following season.

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Hockenson is currently on track to complete this season with career-best figures and leads all tight ends with 15.2 yards per catch on average. This season, he has contributed to the leadership of the Lions passing game by catching 26 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns in seven games. Despite suffering an injury that forced him to miss five games in 2021, he still managed to finish each of the previous two seasons with more than 500 receiving yards. During his Pro Bowl season in 2020, he recorded a personal best 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns.

It is anticipated that he would assume the job of the Vikings’ primary tight end almost immediately, and that he will continue to play that role even after Smith has recovered from his own injury. To this point in the season, the Minnesota Vikings have had the tight end position with the lowest average number of yards gained per catch.

This is the second transaction that has occurred between the Lions and the Vikings this season that involves a player from within the same division. In a significant move during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Minnesota’s new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded picks with Detroit. As a result, Detroit was able to move up and choose wide receiver Jameson Williams.

Trade Grades

Vikings: A

They could have used some assistance at tight end even if Smith Jr. had been in good health. When Hockenson is healthy, he performs his position significantly better than the majority of others. And all that the Vikings had to give up in order to get him — not only for 2022, but through at least 2023 on a deal that was acceptable — was a pick that would have been in the second round. The fact that Adofo-Mensah was able to make a deal demonstrates his shrewd business sense, pals. It is anticipated that Hockenson will immediately fill the role of safety valve for Kirk Cousins, thereby assisting Minnesota in its continued drive in the NFC.

Lions: D+

Although Detroit had every right to be dealing ahead of the deadline, it is incomprehensible why their big play was to get rid of one of the few proven components of their construction. Hockenson may command a lucrative deal in the future, and he has his own history of injuries, but even the draft picks they’re getting are far from certain to replace the productivity of the player who was selected eighth overall in the previous draft. All of this could be forgiven, however, if those picks turned out to be the actual franchise quarterback that they were hoping for.

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