Vikings: T.J. Hockenson returns to practice after ear infection

The Minnesota Vikings held an indoor walk-through on Monday at training camp with rain soaking the Twin Cities, and T.J. Hockenson was back on the field with his teammates.

Hockenson had missed several days of practice with an ear infection. He told reporters it was affecting his equilibrium. The Vikings traded a second round pick to the Detroit Lions last season to bring Hockenson to Minnesota after Irv Smith Jr. went down with an injury.

"I want to be out there with the boys, obviously. My favorite thing is playing football with the guys in the locker room and having a great time with them. So it stinks, but on the same hand I've got to get ready for September," Hockenson said. "And that's what I'm looking forward to."

In 10 games and seven starts with the Vikings last season, Hockenson had 60 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns, and is considered one of the top tight ends in the NFL. He was second in the league last year with 86 total catches for 914 yards.

He had been involved in walk-throughs, but had done only individual work and sat out contact and team periods.

Later this week, the Vikings host the Tennessee Titans for joint practices Wednesday and Thursday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan ahead of Saturday night’s preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Hockenson said Monday he’s not sure yet if he’ll participate in the joint practices.

Hockenson is in the final year of his current contract and the Vikings want to sign him to an extension. His recent absence fueled speculation about his future, but he and Kevin O’Connell both said it’s due to is ear issue.

Hockenson getting back on the field, even if it was just a walk-through, is a positive sign.