The Detroit Lions made a move ahead of Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.
They traded tight end T.J. Hockenson (pending physical), a 2023 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2024 draft selection to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.
"I know that (Lions GM) Brad (Holmes) is looking into anything and everything on both sides," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Monday, when asked about Tuesday's trade deadline. "That's what he does, and so, I know we've got a little time here, and we'll see if something happens."
Something happened alright.
Trading Hockenson to the Vikings (6-1) is the first interdivision trade involving a player since 1998, when Detroit traded running back Glyn Milburn to the Packers for a draft pick, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
This is the second major trade involving the Lions and Vikings in the past seven months. In April, Detroit traded up with Minnesota for the No. 12 overall draft pick, which they used to select wide receiver Jameson Williams.
Hockenson, 25, who was selected No. 8 overall by Detroit in the 2019 NFL Draft, has 26 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns this season. A Pro Bowler in 2020, Hockenson has 186 receptions for 2,068 yards and 15 touchdowns in four seasons (47 games).
The trade leaves the Lions with Brock Wright and rookie fifth-round pick James Mitchell as the tight ends currently on the roster. Wright and Mitchell have combined to catch seven passes for 102 yards on the season.
Wright did a nice job filling in for Hockenson down the stretch last season, catching a couple touchdown passes. Wright has logged 181 offensive snaps this year, catching six passes for 88 yards. Mitchell has been slowly working his way back into the lineup after tearing his ACL in college last season. He recorded his first reception, a 14-yarder, against the Dolphins on Sunday.
The fact that the Lions and Hockenson didn't engage in meaningful contract extension talks this season was a sign Hockenson might not have been in the long-term plans for the Lions after they picked up his 2023 rookie fifth-year option. Hockenson is owed $9.39 million in 2023 after the team exercised the option this offseason.
Hockenson fills an immediate need for the Vikings after tight end Irv Smith Jr. suffered a high ankle sprain Week 8 that could keep him out as long as two months, according to ESPN. The Vikings placed Smith on injured reserve Tuesday.
The Lions now have two picks in each of the first two rounds of next year's NFL Draft. That's enough draft capital to help fill a number of needs that have developed over the course of their 1-6 start to the season.