Cost of extending T.J. Hockenson (likely) just went up for Vikings

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson
Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson / David Berding/GettyImages

After the Chicago Bears extended tight end Cole Kmet on Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings will likely have to pay a little more to keep T.J. Hockenson around.

With his current contract set to expire after the 2023 season, Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson is an obvious candidate for an extension in the near future. On Wednesday, a transaction made by another team in the NFC North might end up forcing the Vikings to give Hockenson a deal that pays him more money than they had originally hoped.

After a 2022 season in which he caught 50 passes for 544 yards and seven touchdowns, the Chicago Bears have rewarded tight end Cole Kmet with a four-year contract extension worth $50 million.

Extension by Chicago Bears eliminates any hope of Minnesota Vikings saving money with T.J. Hockenson

Minnesota's front office is smart enough to know that any sort of extension for Hockenson wasn't ever going to be cheap. But if the Vikings were hoping to avoid giving the two-time Pro Bowler a new deal that resets the tight end market, the chances of that happening got much lower on Wednesday, thanks to the Bears and Kmet.

Spotrac currently has Hockenson's market value at $15.5 million per year, which would give him the second-highest annual average salary among NFL tight ends, behind only Darren Waller of the New York Giants.

Hockenson is viewed as one of the top tight ends in the league, so he's going to want to get paid like one. Kmet is more of an average tight end, so if he's getting an extension worth $50 million, expect the Minnesota tight end to want a bunch more money in his next deal.