Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

T.J. Hockenson, D.J. Wonnum Land on Injured Reserve; O'Connell Evaluating Vikings QBs

EAGAN, Minn. – The Minnesota Vikings will be without tight end T.J. Hockenson and outside linebacker D.J. Wonnum for the remainder of the season, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell announced on Monday.

O'Connell spoke to media members on Tuesday afternoon following Sunday's 30-24 loss to the Lions. O'Connell confirmed Hockenson suffered season-ending tears to his ACL and MCL.

Hockenson suffered the injury on the Vikings second play of the second half when his knee was struck by Lions safety Kerby Joseph's helmet following a 24-yard catch. The Pro Bowl tight end  — and team's leading receiver — will be placed on Injured Reserve.

Wonnum was injured on a third-and-4 pass rush from the Minnesota 8-yard line. He went to the turf while trying to pressure quarterback Jared Goff. Wonnum was unable to continue and left the field on a cart. O'Connell confirmed that Wonnum is also headed to Injured Reserve with a torn quad.

"Crushed for both those guys," O'Connell said. "Two of our most impactful players and leaders on our team. [They] set the standard of what we what we want as Minnesota Vikings in every aspect of who they are as men and teammates and players on the grass. Two guys that will be difficult to overcome their loss."

Hockenson finishes the season with a career highs of 95 catches and 960 yards. His five receiving touchdowns currently rank second on the Vikings.

Already down several key players, injuries continue to mount for the Vikings (7-8). Four players suffered injuries that forced them to leave Sunday's game. In addition to Wonnum and Hockenson, rookies Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder) and Jordan Addison (ankle) left due to injury and did not return.

Addison was injured following a second-quarter interception, and Blackmon was injured in the third quarter while defending a pass attended for receiver Kalif Raymond.

O'Connell said both are day-to-day and are considered questionable for this week's game against the Packers. O'Connell added that he is hopeful tackle Brian O'Neill can return to practice soon. He missed the past two games with an ankle injury.

 "You can say 'next man up' all you want. You can talk about that mentality, and we do kind of live by that mentality," O'Connell said. "That's really what this whole year has been about, whether you talk about some of the offensive line groups we've put out there, having to play significant time without Kirk [Cousins], without J.J. (Justin Jefferson), without, whether it's T.J. or some of our guys on the defensive side, it's been significant. I think our guys have battled."

Evaluations ongoing at QB

Quarterback Nick Mullens threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed four interceptions on Sunday. O'Connell said the team is evaluating its quarterbacks room before naming a Week 17 starter. Mullens was explosive and effective at times against the Lions, but turnovers continue to hinder the Vikings offense.

"We're working through that right now, making sure we go through a full evaluation process of the Lions game, of course, but going back to the Bengals game and taking inventory of both of Nick's starts and when he came into the game against the Raiders, as well," O'Connell said. "We've had some turnovers. There's no doubt about it, and the interceptions have kind of been the story for much of the year since we lost Kirk at that position, and we're trying to work through what we feel gives us the best chance to still be explosive like we were moving the football the other day against the Lions but we've got to find a way to still possess the football and not set our team back."

The Vikings 30 giveaways are tied for second-most in the NFL, behind only the Cleveland Browns 32.

O'Connell added the team is considering all three options – Mullens, rookie Jaren Hall and Joshua Dobbs – to start Sunday night.

Minnesota still has a chance to make the postseason as an NFC Wild Card. The Vikings, however, must win their final two regular-season games and receive some outside help.

"All three of those guys are worthy of being involved in that discussion," O'Connell said. "We'll make the best decision in the interest of winning games."