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TJ Hockenson agrees to record-setting extension with Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms with Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson on a four-year, $68.5 million extension with $42.5 million guaranteed, ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported on Thursday morning.

Hockenson reset the tight end market with his new deal, securing an annual salary of $17.125 million and a guaranteed sum of $42.5 million. This landmark deal now stands as the highest in NFL history, surpassing New York Giants’ Darren Waller, who had an average of $17 million.

“He fits our culture,” Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Thursday morning during the team’s media availability. “He’s the type of player we want in Minnesota. I’m really excited to get it done.”

Details of Hockenson’s extension contract have been disclosed, revealing a value of $66 million spanning four new years. The contract structure involves a cash distribution of $32 million throughout the initial two years and $48 million covering a three-year span.

Additionally, the new deal incorporates a $29 million signing bonus, of which $9 million is a continuation from his initial rookie deal. The contract’s maximum ceiling reaches $68.5 million, accounting for potential incentive bonuses.

Hockenson, 26, was acquired at the trade deadline last season in a rare in-division trade with the Detroit Lions. Minnesota traded its 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick, while receiving a 2023 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick along with Hockenson.

The Pro Bowl tight end appeared in 10 games, hauling in 60 receptions for 519 yards and three touchdowns. Hockenson wasted no time making an impact, setting an NFL record for tight ends by securing 26 receptions in his initial four games with his new team.

“Our hopes were that we were acquiring a player that would become a major part of our offense moving forward,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Thursday of Hockenson’s extension. “We saw the immediate impact over those 10 games — 11 games. We’ve been able to build on T.J.’s role here, and really have a great process in the offseason of what it’s really going to look like in our offensive system for a major player like T.J. to be a part of it.”

By orchestrating the signing of Hockenson to the largest tight end contract in NFL history, Adofo-Mensah is clearly demonstrating his profound belief in the Pro Bowl tight end’s immense potential.

Last season’s trajectory had Hockenson on track for approximately 102 receptions, 882 yards, and around six touchdowns, should he have been with Minnesota throughout the entire season.

Having successfully signed Hockenson for the long term and thus resetting the market, the team’s attention will now shift towards a similar endeavor for All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who retains two years on his rookie contract.

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