It’s rare to see two teams within the same division make a trade, but the Minnesota Vikings acquired tight end TJ Hockenson from the Detroit Lions shortly before the trade deadline.
To complete the trade, the Vikings will send the Lions a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and a third-round pick in 2024.
In addition to Hockenson, the Vikings will also get a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, along with a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024 from the Lions.
The first-place Vikings lead the NFC North with a 6-1 record, while the Lions hold down last place in the division with a 1-6 record.
The Vikings have the second-best record in the NFC behind the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles at 7-0. The Buffalo Bills, the top team in the AFC, is the only other NFL team with a 6-1 record.
The Vikings are an overwhelming favorite to win the NFC North at -900 odds according to DraftKings. The struggling Green Bay Packers are 3-5 this season and their closest competition at +650 odds to win the division.
DraftKings updated their Super Bowl LVII futures, and you can back the Vikings at +1800 odds as the sixth highest team on the board.
The Vikings are +700 odds to win the NFC Championship. The Eagles are the outright favorite to win the NFC at +175 odds, followed by the San Francisco 49ers (+500), and Dallas Cowboys (+550).
Vikings Upgrade Offense with Hockenson
In seven games this season with the Lions, Hockenson caught 26 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 15.2 yards per catch as one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets.
The Lions selected Hockenson from Iowa with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. In three and a half seasons with the Lions, Hockeson played in 47 games. He tallied 186 receptions for 2,068 yards, and 15 touchdowns. He also added three two-point conversions. In 2020, Hockenson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl with a career-best 67 receptions, 723 yards, and six touchdowns.
The Vikings needed someone to replace starting tight end Irv Smith Jr. Smith went down with a high ankle sprain against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Smith is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season. The Vikings hope he could return for the playoffs. In the meantime, Hockenson will provide the Vikings with a stellar blocker and someone with steady hands.
Hockenson has one more year remaining on his current contract, and will become a free agent at the end of the season.
The Vikings visit the Washington Commanders in Week 9, and the Commanders are a +3.5 home dog. In Week 10, the Vikings face a tough road game against the Buffalo Bills.
The Vikings and Lions do not meet again until Week 14 in Detroit.
Disappointing Lions Start 1-6
The Lions were 3-13-1 in Dan Campbell’s first season as head coach. But as bad as the Lions were, they competed in every game and played tough. Bettors loved the Lions grit and determination because they were one of the best teams against the spread. The Lions were 11-6 ATS last season even though they had just three wins.
The scrappy Lions appeared on HBO’s popular reality series Hard Knocks. Based on last season’s performance in close games, huge expectations were thrust upon the Lions. They were not expected to make the playoffs, but fans hoped they could hover around .500 and improve upon last season’s 3-13-1 record.
The Lions lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener, but kept the game close with a three-point loss. In Week 2, the Lions defeated the Washington Commanders. They lost a four-point game against the Vikings in Week 3, but the Lions covered to start the season 3-0 ATS.
For the first time in 24 previous games the Lions opened as a betting favorite against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. The Seahawks won a 48-35 shootout.
The Lions are in the middle of a five-game losing streak with recent losses against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7, and against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Betting wise, the Lions failed to cover the point spread in their last four games and sunk to 3-4 ATS on the season.
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