Even though the Vikings created salary cap room Tuesday to sign top draft pick Garrett Bradbury, it’s still not a guarantee tight end Kyle Rudolph will be staying with the team for a 9th season.
Rudolph is set to make over $7 million dollars in the final year of his contract and that makes him one of the highest paid Vikings. The team has just over $1 million in cap space, and that’s the lowest in the NFL. So…who would be interested in trading for Rudolph and what could the Vikings get in return, besides salary cap relief?
Here are the top teams that would not only like to acquire a top tight end, but could afford his salary:
The Oakland Raiders
Coach John Gruden likes veteran players and his team lost starting tight end Jared Cook to New Orleans. Their remaining tight ends caught 20 passes last season. Plus, the Raiders also have 30 million dollars in salary cap room.
The New York Giants
As bad as the decision was to trade Odell Beckham to Cleveland and draft a quarterback with the 6th pick, the Giants could make up for it with a trade for Kyle Rudolph. Viking fans love Pat Shurmur and the Giants haven’t helped him much since he took the coaching job and left the Vikings a year ago.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags underachieved last year and set about fixing their offense in the off-season by signing quarterback Nick Foles. Foles doesn’t have much for weapons on offense and his new offensive coordinator is former Viking offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who just happens to know how to use the talents of a guy like Kyle Rudolph.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski retired recently at the age of 30. Kyle Rudolph is 29 but he hasn’t taken the beating Gronk took in his career. Rudolph played 88 percent of all the Vikings snaps last year with 64 receptions and 4 touchdowns. Do you think Tom Brady would like to throw to Rudolph? Of course you’re dealing with the Patriots here and what would they be willing to give up? They always seem to get the better of any deal.
Whatever happens, Rudolph wants to see it happen before the next mini camp on May 21st. What can the Vikings expect to get for Rudolph? Probably something in the 3rd to 4th round range. If that sounds like a low ball offer, consider that some think the Vikings might release him…and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks that the Vikings might even be starting their own rumors that there are several teams interested to drum up competition for Rudolph.
My prediction…he goes to New England for a 3rd round pick because the Patriots just gained another 3rd round compensatory pick a couple of weeks ago, so they’re not giving up something they already had. It’s a win for both teams. The Vikings can put Irv Smith in the starting lineup from day 1 and Rudolph gets to play for a Super Bowl ring with Tom Brady throwing him passes.