" T.J. Hockenson, a tight end for the Vikings, played in a game five days after being traded from the Lions to them. He made nine catches on nine targets for 70 yards. "
Following the game, Hockenson spoke with PFT about his crazy week.
"I got the call around 1:30 on Tuesday and got on a plane around 7:00 on Tuesday night, landed around 9:00 in Minneapolis, went to the facility, got my iPad, woke up at 6:00 AM on Wednesday for a physical, and sort of hit the ground running," Hockenson explained over the phone. "On Wednesday, there was a significant offensive installation." Coach [Brian Angelichio] and Coach [Kevin O'Connell] did an excellent job of just assisting me in learning the offense. Assisting in putting me in a position to succeed.
"I stayed really late on Wednesday just to make sure I understood everything in the base plan, and then it's third-down [package] on Thursday, same thing." You have to get there early and stay late just to learn it. And then Friday, they say it's a 'quick Friday,' but I stayed in there after everyone had left, just to make sure I had the whole game plan down. Making sure that I could be there and be a part of it when they needed me, and that there was no 'Hey, he doesn't know what's going on,' or 'Hey, he doesn't know that.' I just didn't want that to be the focus, and it's something I put on myself right away when I arrived."
Hockenson was forced to learn a new offense for the fourth time in his career. He only had four days to do it this time. He agreed that it was similar to learning a new language. Because the Lions had already faced the Commanders, he could focus less on a defensive he was already familiar with and more on studying the Vikings' playbook.
"Just being able to fast rewind my mind and grasp what's going on with like what our aim is on each play and just trying to figure out the whole system and the whole principles," Hockenson said of learning a new playbook. "Hearing it come out of the lips is not the same as reading it. I've read it every night on my phone, voice recorded it, and listened to it come back to me at night... Being in four different offenses, those are just tactics I've learned to help me memorize and execute things faster."
It obviously worked, and Hockenson is already at ease. How cozy is it? He stated it's a 9.5 on a scale of one to ten, and the only reason it's not a 10 is that he's still staying in a hotel.
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