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Trade Grades: Minnesota Vikings season in review

How did the Vikings non-draft trades this year play out?

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings were not particularly active in the trade market during the 2022-23 season. Only two trades have been conducted since last season’s draft.

Ross Blacklock

In the first, the Vikings acquired DT Ross Blacklock and a 2023 seventh-round draft pick from Houston in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick.

Blacklock played in four games during the 2022-23 season, playing 139 defensive snaps in 11 games. Blacklock had a couple of tackles on the year and a sack of Mac Jones against New England during week 12.

Blacklock is currently a depth player sitting behind Right Defensive Tackles Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard.

This trade strikes one as relatively insignificant, with Blacklock in a comfortable backup role with the much more experienced Bullard and Phillips in front of him. In his very limited snaps he did record a sack, which is somewhat impressive considering how often he was on the field.

That sack came at a big moment too, stopping a comeback drive for the Patriots. While Za’Darius Smith was also in on the tackle, it was given fully to Blacklock. The sack occurred on the Pats’ one-yard line with one minute left in the 4th quarter, on a 1st and 10 that began at the Patriots 10.

It was Blacklock’s last tackle of the season, and it all but assured a Vikings win that day. Could very well be a fun player to watch when he develops under experienced leadership. Worth the price of a sixth-rounder.

Grade: B

TJ Hockenson

The second trade of the Vikings season was the only one to come during the season, with Minnesota sending a 2023 second-round and a 2024 third-round draft pick to Detroit in exchange for TE T.J. Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick.

The trade occurred in-between weeks 8 and 9, with Detroit having all but given up on their season with a 1-6 record at the time. It would be a safe bet that Detroit probably would have held onto him had they known their season would turn completely around.

The Vikings were happy to take Hockenson out of the Motor City, however, adding a crucial piece and taking one away from a now-division rival.

This was a very interesting trade at the time, and should continue to be viewed with intrigue even after “Hock” made a more-than-stellar impact in his time in the purple and gold on his way to a Pro Bowl season.

Hockenson finished his first season as a Viking with 60 receptions on 86 targets, 519 yards, and 3 TDs. He picked up 27 first downs, many coming in clutch instances as a great short to mid-range option for Kirk Cousins.

His standout weeks were week 10 against the Bills where Hock had 7 catches on 10 receptions including a crucial 4th-and-6 conversion in the 4th quarter. Hockenson was also the top receiver in the last game of the season, putting up 129 yards on 10 receptions (11 targets)... We still aren't going to talk about his last catch though.

The former top-ten draft pick becomes a free agent in 2024 without an extension and will enjoy at least one more year in Minneapolis in the company of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson.

Hockenson has one of the more “it’s not bad, I guess” contracts to swallow as the Vikings are in cap hell, $22 million over next year’s ceiling. Hockenson accounts for $9.4 million against the cap next year, not ideal but far from the worst TE contracts.

As a who is not considered an aging veteran and is still new to the Vikings, It is doubtful that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell will be ok with letting Hockenson go, especially with Irv Smith Jr, Johnny Mundt, and Nick Muse looking unlikely to be putting up Hock’s level of stats and impact.

Grade: A

Jalen Raegor

On August 31st of 2022, the Philadelphia Eagles traded WR Jalen Reagor to Minnesota for a 2023 seventh-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round selection that changes to a fifth-round pick if certain statistical requirements are not met.

Raegor, a former first-round draft pick for the Eagles, never lived up to his high expectations in the city of brotherly love. The Eagles then picked De’Vonta Smith, who made the most of Reagor’s opportunity.

Reagor has proved a capable backup or second option to Justin Jefferson, who will be holding the starting spot opposite to Adam Thielen (at least while Thielen is still a Viking) for the very foreseeable future.

Reagor put up solid numbers throughout the season, appearing in all of Minnesota’s games. Raegor was always going to get limited snaps behind Jefferson. Reagor turned 8 receptions (on 13 targets) this season into 104 yards and 1 TD, with no drops. He averaged 13 yards per catch, with a longest of 38 yards (which was the TD) against the Jets.

At 24 years old, Reagor is still in a prime position to learn from the best in the game, with no pressure on him. This trade will take a few years to fully analyze, and the jury is still mostly out.

One thing is certain though, as long as Jefferson is unhurt and in front of him on the depth chart, it will be hard for Reagor to put up big numbers.

The cost matched his production. A 7th-rounder in this year’s draft and a potential 4th (or 5th, depending on production) in 2024 made Kwesi Adofo-Mensah happy enough to make the deal. However, with the Eagles now in the Super Bowl, it is tough to justify giving picks to a top-tier NFC rival.

Grade: B-