When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Alabama tight end Irv Smith a few weeks ago in the 2019 NFL Draft, many people figured it was the writing on the wall for when Minnesota would jettison longtime starting tight end Kyle Rudolph. Even though two tight end sets are in vogue in the NFL, surely picking a tight end that high meant the Vikes wanted to move on from Rudolph.
That wasn’t necessarily the case, as Minnesota has been trying to sign Rudolph to a new contract, but those talks broke down this week. My guess would be that the Vikings tried to low-ball Rudolph and get him on a team-friendly extension while phasing him out of their offense in favor of Smith, which honestly is exactly what they should be doing.
Rudolph wasn’t about to go for that, and now he’s on the trade block. He’s 30 years old and has had several years of consistent production. There is plenty of interest in him around the league. He’s not washed up and he can still play. He’s solid if unspectacular, which is an upgrade for many teams, in particular the Raiders.
Oakland doesn’t have an Irv Smith waiting in the wings. They have Darren Waller, who has a very high ceiling and a very low floor, and Foster Moreau who has been primarily a blocking tight end. Rudolph makes plenty of sense for the Raiders as his cap number would be about $7.5M, which is well within the amount of cap space Oakland has available.
Since there are a number of teams who would like Rudolph’s services, it stands to reason the Raiders wouldn’t be able to get him for a simple late-round pick. But maybe a slightly higher price tag would be worth it to upgrade a position of need.
Should Raiders try to trade for Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph?
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