The reason why the Patriots should go all-out to acquire Kyle Rudolph from the Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings fielded calls during the NFL Draft for tight end Kyle Rudolph and although it’s unclear if one of the teams calling was the New England Patriots. If they weren’t, they need to get on the phone and start making some calls to Minnesota because Rudolph could be the key to the team winning another Super Bowl title.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired this offseason and left a massive hole that the Patriots haven’t been able to fill yet. The team currently has Matt LaCosse, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo on the roster and instead of taking a tight end in the draft they traded away developmental tight end Jacob Hollister to the Seattle Seahawks.
Seferian-Jenkins is really the only guy in that list who has had an impact in his career, but over the last two seasons, he has only played 18 games total.
The Patriots are going to miss Gronkowski’s size and hands in the receiving game, and that is somewhere where Rudolph could come in. Rudolph is a 6-foot, 6-inch receiver that catches almost everything thrown his way. Last year he hauled in 64 receptions while only dropping four passes. He also had a 60 percent catch rate on contested throws. Rudolph isn’t a guy that is going to outrun many, and he doesn’t have many yards after catch but if a ball is thrown his way he is going to come down with the catch.
Tom Brady has also relied on his tight end, and if the best option he has to throw to is Seferian-Jenkins, the passing game could look a little different this year.
This is also a trade that makes a ton of sense for the Vikings. Rudolph only has one year left on his contract, and the team just drafted Irv Smith with their second-round pick, so the writing is on the wall that Rudolph’s time in the purple and gold is coming to an end.
Rudolph’s deal this year is set to pay him $7.3 million in base salary with $350,000 in incentives and with the Vikings cap issues they can use every dollar they can get. The team currently has $1,415,354 in cap space which means they don’t even have enough money to sign their first-round pick Garrett Bradbury until the team creates more cap space. If they can free up the $7 million in cap space that would allow them to sign the rest of their rookie class and maybe even get another player or two in free agency.
It would also mean that Irv Smith would get even more playing time as a rookie, something he seems ready and eager to do.
It’s unclear what precisely the Vikings are asking for in return for Rudolph but as long as it’s something reasonable the Patriots need to get this deal done. Rudolph is worth a mid to late round draft pick for next season, especially if he can help the Patriots get back to the promised land for the second year in a row.