This past season, the Minnesota Vikings shocked a lot of folks around the NFL by making an in-season trade with a division rival, bringing tight end T.J. Hockenson into the fold. Hockenson flourished in the Minnesota offense, and now it looks like he’s finally being recognized among the top players at his position in the NFL.
Behind the great E$PN paywall, a group of NFL coaches and executives are ranking the top ten players in the league at each different position, and the tight end rankings are officially in. Hockenson checks in at #6 on the list. According to the poll, he was as high as #4 on some ballots and, somehow, completely unranked on others.
Here’s what the article has to say about Hockenson:
Hockenson is a cornerstone player for Minnesota’s offense.
After the Vikings executed the rare in-division trade with Detroit to acquire Hockenson, the tight end rewarded the team with 62 receptions for 583 yards from Weeks 8 to 18. Both were top-two finishes among tight ends, and Hockenson finished the year with career highs in receptions (86) and receiving yards (914).
“He’s a good player but nothing dynamic to him in the pass game and average in the run game,” an NFC exec said. “He’s the classic case of a player that does everything well but nothing exceptional.”
A high-ranking NFL official added: “Really dynamic route runner with speed, size, quickness — attacks football in the air and has some better yards after the catch than given credit for. Decent blocker, three-down-impact player.”
I’m not sure if I’d agree that there’s nothing “dynamic” to Hockenson’s game, honestly. It took him all of one or two drives to establish himself as the Vikings’ clear #2 option in the passing game in his first game after the trade. That doesn’t just happen. It’s pretty exciting to think about what he might do with a full offseason of working with the Minnesota offense and coaching staff under his belt.
It’s pretty difficult to argue that Hockenson should be higher, given the five players that ranked ahead of him.
- Travis Kelce, Chiefs
- George Kittle, 49ers
- Mark Andrews, Ravens
- Dallas Goedert, Eagles
- Darren Waller, Giants
I mean, Waller missed a lot of time last season with injuries but he’s still a pretty damn good tight end. Other than that, I don’t think I could realistically make an argument for Hockenson to be above any of those guys as things stand right now.