Vikings’ $66 Million Star Predicted to Miss Several Games, See Production Plummet

The Minnesota Vikings could have one of the best offenses in the NFL next season, though that will depend on two factors.

Firstly, the Vikings will need to get better than serviceable quarterback play out of Sam Darnold, J.J. McCarthy or some combination of the two. That ball remains very much in the air and is liable to fluctuate on a weekly basis. The same can be assumed about factor No. 2 — the relative health of the roster, namely a group of skill position players who dealt with significant injury last year and may continue to do so in 2024.

Wide receiver Justin Jefferson missed seven games with a hamstring strain, while new running back Aaron Jones missed six contests in 2023 due to bouts with multiple injuries. While both Jefferson and Jones returned before the end of last season and finished strong, the same can’t be said of tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Hockenson went down with a knee injury against the Detroit Lions in Week 16 that ultimately required surgery and could disrupt his ability to begin the year as a starter in the Vikings’ offense. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report on Friday, May 10, projected that Hockenson will start only 12 games in the upcoming campaign and watch his production dip significantly because of it.

While Hockenson will still benefit from playing alongside Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison upon his return, he’ll also be playing with either Sam Darnold or rookie first-round pick J.J. McCarthy at quarterback. And with running back Aaron Jones now in the fold, the Vikings shouldn’t be as pass-heavy as they were a year ago.

Fans can expect to see Hockenson back on the field this season, even if he misses the first few weeks. However, they shouldn’t expect the sort of numbers needed to earn Hockenson heavy Pro Bowl consideration.

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