The day of the NFL trade deadline started with a deal that no one saw coming.
The Detroit Lions are trading tight end T.J. Hockenson within the NFC North to the Minnesota Vikings.
The move initially might have seemed like a surprise considering Minnesota already had a tight end it has made an effort to utilize this season in Irv Smith Jr.
However, ESPN's Adam Schefter has now provided some context to the deal.
Smith suffered a high-ankle sprain during the Vikings' win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and will likely miss multiple games as a result.
"Vikings’ TE Irv Smith Jr. suffered a high ankle-sprain on Sunday vs. Cardinals and is expected to miss multiple weeks," Schefter tweeted. "So Minnesota now lands TE T.J. Hockenson."
Smith, who also missed all of last season due to a knee injury and was limited earlier this season after undergoing thumb surgery, has caught 22 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Regardless of Smith's health, Hockenson should be an upgrade at the tight end position and provide the Vikings with another passing game option to draw attention away from star receiver Justin Jefferson.
Hockenson has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL across the past three seasons. The former first-round draft pick caught 67 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, then 61 for 583 yards and four scores in 12 games last season. He has made 26 grabs for 395 yards and three scores so far this year.
Hockenson may not be very involved this week when the Vikings face the Washington Commanders, but he should be ready to contribute for a key three-game stretch afterward during which Minnesota will face the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.