T.J. Hockenson says NFL needs to look at Kerby Joseph hit that ended his season

Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson did not hold back on Monday when asked about the hit from Kerby Joseph that ended his 2023 season.

The Vikings hosted the Detroit Lions on Christmas Eve, and Hockenson took a hit to the knee from Joseph in the second half. It ended his season with a torn right ACL and MCL. Two weeks later, Joseph ended Tyler Higbee’s season on a similar hit in the NFC Playoffs.

In 15 starts, Hockenson finished five catches short of 100 on the season, and 40 yards short 1,000 for the season. Both would’ve been career-highs.

Speaking Monday on the Vikings’ first day of offseason workouts, Hockenson was more angry about the NFL allowing the low hit than he was directly at Joseph. The two were teammates in Detroit.

"Obviously I wasn’t too happy about it, that’s not a fun one to take. That’s not necessarily based on him as a player, I got nothing against him, I played with him in Detroit. I would’ve much rather gone down with a concussion for two weeks than have to go through this for nine months. That’s definitely a different conversation," Hockenson said. "You can’t cut outside the tackle box, so it doesn’t really make sense why these guys are able to go as low as they are. When you’re 25 yards down field looking back at the quarterback, you don’t have any awareness. To have that happen again two weeks later, I didn’t really like that."

Hockenson doesn’t believe Joseph’s hit was intentional, but wants the NFL to look into that type of hit.

"This is a business and I don’t think anybody goes out on the field wanting to injure a player like that. I’m hoping that’s not what the intent was. To have that happen a couple weeks later, I think that’s something the league needs to look at," Hockenson said. "His helmet is straight down looking at the ground, that’s not a good football tackle. That’s not my job to look at that, I’ll leave that to the league. You never know, at any point on any play your career could be over. You don’t want to be the guy that did that, at least I don’t."

Hockenson had surgery in January and is meeting goals the Vikings’ training staff has set for him. He won’t participate in offseason workouts and likely won’t be ready for training camp, but what about Week 1?

"I think anything is possible. I’m definitely not going to put a timeline on it just because I haven’t really looked at the whole aspect of things," Hockenson said.

"He’s been daily improvement, and that’s all we’re really hunting right now. T.J. is going to do everything in his power to get back as fast as possible, but we’re going to be smart about the process," Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said.

Hockenson signed a contract extension during training camp last year to make him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. He did his part on the field until the injury.