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Lions trading TE T.J. Hockenson to Vikings for draft picks

The NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings are getting some reinforcements from the bottom of the division.

The Vikings have traded for former first-round tight end T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per sources. Minnesota will also receive a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick as part of the deal.

Minnesota has since announced the trade.

The No. 8 overall pick in 2019 out of Iowa, Hockenson entered the NFL as an athletic pass-catcher with blocking skills. In Detroit, the tight end has been solid but hasn't blown the doors off.

In 47 games, Hockenson has generated 2,068 yards and 15 touchdowns.

This offseason, the Lions planned to get Hockenson more involved in the offense with new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson -- the former TEs coach -- taking over the play-calling. While there have been flashes, including an eight-catch, 179-yard, two-TD day in Week 4 against Seattle, it's been another up-and-down campaign for Hockenson. The 25-year-old has earned 395 yards and three TDs in seven contests.

Hockenson is in the fourth year of his rookie deal. The Lions picked up his $9.4 million fifth-year option, putting him under contract through 2023. The TE is eligible for an extension.

Hockenson will move to Minnesota as part of Kevin O'Connell's offense and should pair well alongside Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. As a playmaker in space, Hock should fit perfectly into the Vikings' new offense, making it more explosive.

Adding context to the trade, Minnesota tight end Irv Smith suffered a high ankle sprain on Sunday and will be placed on injured reserve, knocking him out indefinitely, Rapoport reported. That loss necessitated a need to import a YAC player like Hockenson.

With a big lead in the NFC North, the Vikings made a move to solidify their positioning, aid O'Connell's offense and potentially help with a postseason run. After watching the 49ers and Eagles make moves in recent weeks, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pushes his chips in as well.

For the 1-6 Lions, the trade is another move from GM Brad Holmes to gain assets as he sheds players from the previous regime who likely weren't in his long-term plans -- as evidenced by the lack of extension talks this offseason. With the added second-round pick, Detroit now has four selections in the top two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

While it's always a slight surprise to see deals within a division, Holmes and Adofo-Mensah aren't afraid to do business together. The Vikings and Lions did a draft-day deal in the first round this spring that allowed the Lions to jump to the No. 12 overall pick and select wide receiver Jameson Williams.

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