Here is why the Minnesota Vikings traded in-division for Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Not since Jimmy Johnson was running them Cowboys have we seen this many trades between two rival teams. During the 2022 NFL Draft, the Lions and Vikings famously swapped first-round picks. Detroit moved up to No. 12 to take Jameson Williams out of Alabama by way of Ohio State. Minnesota ended up selecting Georgia cornerback Lewis Cine with the final pick of the first round.
While the Lions are going nowhere fast, the expectation that Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. will be sidelined for over two months with a high ankle sprain necessitated the move to go get Hockenson from Detroit.
Things are going to hell in a hand basket fricking fast for Lions head coach Dan Campbell, man…
Why Minnesota Vikings traded for Detroit Lions TE T.J. Hockenson, explained
What this move means for the Vikings is obvious. They do not believe Smith will be much of a factor for them for the rest of the season. He could return in the latter weeks of the year, as well as the NFC playoffs, a place the Vikings will be a prominent player in barring catastrophe. This is really why they made the trade. Minnesota knows that it can win a very down NFC this season.
As for the Lions, this move means something else entirely. It is probably a strong indicator that Campbell is falling out of favor in Detroit. He had built up a cult-like following in Motown, but Motor City Dan Campbell may not survive two seasons at the helm. Despite the NFC being largely horrific this year, the Lions have the worst record in the conference, despite having talent.
With teams thought to be tanking like the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks now leading their divisions, as well as the New York Giants more than holding their own in the deep NFC East, what does this say about the Lions? Even more troubling, the Chicago Bears look markedly better than them with a second-year quarterback, a first-time head coach and a first-time general manager…
Overall, these are not merely two ships passing in the night. One cargo ship has crashed hard into an iceberg, man. The other is looking at the wreckage to see what precious cargo it can pillage before that boat is lost at sea. While it remains to be seen how good the 6-1 Vikings will be going forward, one thing is for certain. The Lions will be picking in the top five of the 2023 NFL Draft.
By trading for Hockenson, the high-octane Vikings passing attack just got even more explosive.