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#pounditWednesday, February 1, 2023

Vikings acquire key player in rare trade with division rival

Kevin OConnell at a press conference

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell speaks with the media.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr is expected to miss an extended period after he suffered an ankle injury on Sunday, but the team has found a great replacement for him.

The Vikings have acquired tight end TJ Hockenson in a trade with the NFC North rival Detroit Lions, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the full terms of the deal:

Schefter also reported that Smith will be sidelined for 8-10 weeks, which is likely why the Vikings made the trade.

Hockenson, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has played a key role in Detroit’s offense since he entered the league. He has 26 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns this season. The former Iowa star had 61 catches last year and a career-high 67 on a whopping 101 targets in 2020.

ESPN Stats & Info noted that Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has not been very effective while targeting tight ends this season. The team is likely hoping Hockenson can help with that. It is also interesting to point out that it has been nearly 25 years since the Lions last made a trade within their own division.

The Lions fell to 1-6 with their loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. They are, once again, quickly fading from playoff contention. Minnesota improved to 6-1 with a win over the Arizona Cardinals.

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