Vikings, Kyle Rudolph Reunion Could Take Backseat to Super Bowl Contender: Report

Rudolph Packers FA Target

Getty Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the sidelines during the first half of the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Santa Clara, California.

Kyle Rudolph has campaigned for his return to the Minnesota Vikings, saying on KFAN radio that he would “absolutely” like to reunite with the team.

However, he is also garnering interest elsewhere, including an enticing Super Bowl contender.

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Vikes, Rudolph Reunion ‘Not Off the Table,’ But Bucs Are Knocking

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on July 14 that Rudolph “has interest from multiple teams ahead of training camp,” including the Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“The #Bucs have been involved, I’m told, and a reunion with the #Vikings is not off the table. This situation should crystallize some time before camps open,” Fowler tweeted.

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Fowler’s report provided more detail on what Rudolph had said during his appearance on the KFAN’s #92Noon radio show on June 21. Currently spending the summer with his family in Minnesota, Rudolph didn’t hesitate when Paul Allen asked whether he’d like to stay for good.

Absolutely,” Rudolph said. “I said it when I left here, ‘that Minnesota’s always home.’ It’s kind of been brought to my attention more when we came back from New Jersey after last season. Whether it’s at the grocery store in Wayzata or at a Timberwolves game… [or] WWE Smackdown this Friday. ‘Come Home Kyle’ chants erupted in the middle of one of the matches.

“Being around town after being gone and the amount of people saying, ‘we wished you were still here…’ just the amount of love myself and my family have gotten from people around the state it’s really opened our eyes to how admired we are by Vikings fans and how much love they’ve showed us for the last decade of our lives here.”

Rudolph, the Vikings franchise record holder for most tight-end touchdowns (48), is roughly 1,800 receiving yards off from overtaking Steve Jordan for the most receiving yards by a tight end. While Jordan’s record is in Rudolph’s crosshairs, he felt there’s bigger unfinished business in Minnesota.

“Certainly for me, there’s still one thing left to do here and that’s win a championship in Minnesota. Obviously, I would love to have another opportunity to get a crack at it,” Rudolph said. “I talked about being calculated in my next decision. I’ve never won a Super Bowl. I’d love to hoist a Lombardi at some point in my career. I do believe this Vikings team has a chance to do that, and certainly, I would be open to that.”

However, he appears to be also weighing playing with Tom Brady on a team that won a Super Bowl in 2020.

Vikings Could Use Tight End Depth

While Irv Smith Jr. is in line for a breakout campaign as the Vikings’ top tight end, there’s little depth beyond Smith.

Ben Ellefson, Johnny Mundt and Zach Davidson have combined for 11 catches in their entire careers as the remaining tight ends on the depth chart.

Rudolph, who has some of the best hands at the position, could provide needed depth as a pass-catcher and a locker room presence.

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