NFL Rumors: Vikings and T.J. Hockenson not close in contract talks
One of the big storylines for the Minnesota Vikings this season will continue to be extending tight end T.J. Hockenson beyond this season.
Minnesota essentially gave up a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 pick swap to the rival Detroit Lions at last year's trade deadline to acquire the former first-rounder in the trade. When he arrived with the Vikings, he made an immediate impact in helping to further open up a passing game that was desperate for a high-end option outside of Justin Jefferson.
Hockenson is now set to play the 2023 season on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, though, and has been looking to ink a new deal with the Vikings. Those talks, as of now, are not going well for Minnesota.
Dianna Russini and Alec Lewis of The Athletic (subscription required) reported that the Vikings and Hockenson are "far apart" in their ongoing contract negotiations. Hockenson wants to reset the market at the tight end position but Minnesota is left in a tough spot with a Jefferson extension, a looming Christian Darrisaw contract, and an uncertain QB future all looming.
Optically, it would not be great for the Vikings to give up valuable draft picks for 1.5 years of a player they're unable to re-sign. However, if there is movement on the Hockenson front in these negotiations where they can find a middle ground and lock him up for a still market-setting deal, that could perhaps be a clear indication that Kirk Cousins, also a free agent after this season, might no longer be part of the organization's future plans, as has been rumored.