The tight end has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension with the Vikings that is worth $68.5 million, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday. The team later confirmed the news.
The average per year value of $17.125 million on Hockenson's new deal places him atop the tight end position.
Hockenson joined the Vikings via in-season trade with the division-rival Lions in 2022, giving Minnesota a go-to option at the position for quarterback Kirk Cousins. The deal paid off quickly, with Hockenson catching 60 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games played for the NFC North champions.
His production came at a perfect time: right before he entered a contract year. The former first-round pick parlayed his 2022 output into a new contract that will elevate his compensation from a middling rate to a number higher than the previously highest-paid TE: Darren Waller ($17 million).
Minnesota invested in Hockenson despite his extended absence from training camp due to an ear infection, which the tight end promised in mid-August wouldn't prevent him from contributing early in the season.
The Vikings seem to believe Hockenson and aren't taking any chances prior to the start of what would have been his final year under team control. With Hockenson's extension now finished, all eyes will shift toward 2022 receiving leader Justin Jefferson, who should be next in line for an extension of his own.