Minnesota Vikings’ injuries continue to mount with Hockenson, Wonnum out for the season

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have had their share of major injuries this season, including to star receiver Justin Jefferson and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Injuries continue to mount as Minnesota tries to stay in the playoff picture.

Coach Kevin O’Connell announced Tuesday that tight end T.J. Hockenson and linebacker D.J. Wonnum will miss the rest of the season.

Hockenson sustained tears to the MCL and ACL in his knee after a defender dived at his knees on a tackle in Sunday’s 30-24 loss to Detroit. Wonnum tore his quadriceps on a non-contact injury.

“Crushed for both of those guys. Two of our most impactful players, leaders on our team,” O’Connell said. “Two guys that will be difficult to overcome their loss.”

Minnesota (7-8) has lost four of five and fell out of playoff position with Sunday’s loss, in which Nick Mullens, the team’s fourth quarterback of the season, threw four interceptions. The Vikings need to win their final two games and get help from either the Los Angeles Rams or Seattle Seahawks to make the playoffs.

PHOTOS: Vikings’ injuries continue to mount with Hockenson, Wonnum out for the season

Losing Hockenson and Wonnum will make that task more difficult. O’Connell said both players will be put on injured reserve.

Hockenson leads the team with 95 catches and 960 receiving yards this season to go with five touchdowns. Wonnum is second on the team with eight sacks. He has 15 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.

Minnesota won the NFC North last season while avoiding major injuries to key players.

“It’s been different,” O’Connell said. “You can say ‘next man up’ all you want. You can talk about that mentality. We do kind of live by that mentality because we like to prepare all of our guys. … We may lose some of our more impactful players and we’ve got to try and continue to go out there and play to win football games. And that’s what this really whole year’s kind of been about.”


In his third game back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for two months, Jefferson had six catches for 141 yards and a touchdown to lead an explosive group of receivers. Including Hockenson, Minnesota had six players with at least a 23-yard reception on Sunday.

The Vikings averaged 18.7 yards per reception as a team with K.J. Osborn adding five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.


After Ty Chandler stepped in for Alexander Mattison last week with 132 rushing yards – Minnesota’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season – the running game took another step back.

Chandler had 17 yards rushing on eight carries against Detroit. Mattison returned after missing one game with an ankle injury and had two carries for minus-1 yard.


Wonnum had become a strong counterpart to leading pass rusher Danielle Hunter. Perhaps Pat Jones II is ready to step in. Jones had six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack in Sunday’s game.


O’Connell said the team is “working through” who will start at quarterback Sunday against Green Bay after Mullens had six turnovers while starting the past two games. Jaren Hall and Joshua Dobbs, who’ve each started since Cousins was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, also are under consideration to start.


WR Jordan Addison (ankle) and CB Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder) left Sunday’s game. O’Connell said both are feeling better and considered day-to-day to start the week of practice. … O’Connell also said he hopes to have RT Brian O’Neill back this week. O’Neill has missed the past two games with an ankle injury.


21 – Hunter leads the league with 21 tackles for loss. That’s in addition to his 15 1/2 sacks, which ranks third.


Two divisional games await, starting with a prime-time home game against Green Bay on New Year’s Eve. Minnesota finishes the season at NFC North champion Detroit, which might not have anything to play for.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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