Patriots’ Thanksgiving opponent made huge upgrade at NFL trade deadline

One of the New England Patriots’ toughest remaining opponents is the Minnesota Vikings, and they made a substantial upgrade to their offense a few hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET NFL trade deadline.

The Vikings acquired Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick from the Detroit Lions in exchange for 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Hockenson is under contract through 2023. He gives the Vikings another quality target for quarterback Kirk Cousins, especially in the red zone. Hockenson is a tough cover for opposing defenses at 6-foot-5 and 244 pounds. He has tallied 26 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns in seven games for the Lions this season.

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The Vikings are 6-1 and lead the NFC North division entering Week 8. They will host the Patriots in Week 12 in the Thanksgiving night game on NBC.  

The Vikings will present one of the toughest matchups of the season for the Patriots defense, which now must cover Hockenson, running back Dalvin Cook and wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Few teams boast as much top-tier offensive talent as Minnesota. 

With the addition of TJ Hockenson, where does the Minnesota Vikings offense rank in the NFC?! 👀#SKOL pic.twitter.com/9mYv8ZN0fg

— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC)

New England actually defended Hockenson pretty well in Week 5. Bill Belichick‘s defense held the tight end to one reception for six yards as the Patriots beat the Lions 29-0.

The Patriots will enter Thanksgiving with a five-game win streak against the Vikings. The last time the Vikings beat the Patriots was in 2000 — Tom Brady’s rookie campaign.

Extending that streak just became an even tougher challenge with this Hockenson trade.

This content was originally published here.

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