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Lions trade TE T.J. Hockenson to Vikings: Analyzing the deal for both teams

It’s solely becoming in a topsy-turvy NFL yr that we get an extremely uncommon last-minute intra-division trade. Just hours earlier than the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, the Detroit Lions dealt Pro Bowl tight finish T.J. Hockenson to their NFC North rival, the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings obtain Hockenson, a fourth-round choose in 2023 and a conditional choose in 2024, whereas sending a 2023 second-round choose and 2024 third-round choose to Detroit. The deal is pending a bodily.

It’s the first trade inside the North by the Lions since 1998, after they traded working again Glyn Milburn to the Green Bay Packers, in accordance to ESPN Stats & Info. It signifies the self-awareness of the 1-6 Lions and the actuality that the Vikings are the greatest staff in the division. 

Related: FOX Sports’ NFL trade deadline tracker

Minnesota is cruising on a five-game win streak with the largest division lead of any staff in the league proper now at 6-1. (The Packers and Bears are both 3-5.) They are discovering methods to win each week behind a revamped offense with head coach Kevin O’Connell main the means, and if there was one space the unit might have been missing, it might need been at tight finish.

Fourth-year participant Irv Smith Jr. is coping with a high-ankle sprain and was positioned on injured reserve on Tuesday. He might reportedly be out 8-10 weeks. Sunday’s sport towards the Cardinals noticed tight finish Johnny Mundt catch the first landing go of his profession as he performed 61% of the staff’s offensive snaps to Smith’s 48%.

The Vikings additionally ran multiple-tight-end units on simply 1.5% of snaps on Sunday. That was down from 16% towards the Miami Dolphins. In the passing sport, quarterback Kirk Cousins hadn’t been in a position to join as effectively along with his tight ends, both. He presently ranks thirtieth in quarterback score and useless final in yards per try when focusing on tight ends this season. 

That might all change now that they get the assist of Hockenson, who was a top-10 choose in 2019 by the Lions and continues to be on his rookie contract. Hockenson made the Pro Bowl in his second season and had been considerably of a security internet for Detroit quarterback Jared Goff to date this yr. Through seven video games, Hockenson had 26 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns with the highest yards-per-target common of his profession at 9.2.

This is the third intra-division trade for Vikings normal supervisor Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who had already traded picks with both the Lions and the Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft. In a weakened NFC, it appears Minnesota realizes the alternative it has in entrance of them, particularly with the perennial division champion Green Bay Packers struggling at 3-5.

The Vikings are middling in most main offensive classes, even with playmakers like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook propelling the unit. But a balanced effort with some inventive playcalling and changes by the staff’s offensive workers has them ranked in the prime 10 in factors scored, with a per-game common of 24.7. They rank fifth inside the crimson zone and that ought to solely enhance with an enormous goal like Hockenson now in the fold.

Hockenson had his greatest sport this season in Week 4, when the Lions took the Seattle Seahawks down to the wire. The tight finish caught eight of 12 targets for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Seven of the Lions’ 27 first downs in the sport had been due to Hockenson. He additionally averaged 13.63 yards after the catch and caught an absolute bomb on an 81-yard go from Goff earlier than halftime.

The Vikings will play the Commanders in Washington this Sunday.

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Super Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You can observe Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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