Red zone threat
Another element of T.J. Hockenson’s game that no doubt tempted the Vikings into making a deal was the player’s significant red-zone threat. At 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds, the former Iowa standout is a brute force when in the mood, which enables him to get open quickly and use his huge frame as an advantage when space is at a premium.
Hockenson has 15 career touchdowns despite languishing on the Detroit Lions and his time on the Hawkeyes in college brought nine scores in two seasons. Considering the wealth of weapons already at Minnesota’s disposal, there should be opportunities aplenty for the player to thrive in a different environment.
This adds another key cog for the Vikings, who look to be among the leading contenders in the NFC after a sensational start under Kevin O’Connell. Others, such as the Philadelphia Eagles, have loaded up heavily in pursuit of the Super Bowl in 2022, so standing firm at the trade deadline could have come back to haunt Minnesota when push came to shove.
It’s an ambitious move that provides another viable option. Especially in the red zone, where Hockenson’s size and wide catch radius represent a matchup nightmare when one considers he’ll likely be left one-on-one most of the time.
This is a win-win in the short and long term. Something general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah deserves enormous credit for pulling off.