So when Smith underwent meniscus surgery that proved to be season-ending, the Vikings hit the phones and put out feelers for a replacement.
“According to multiple league sources, (Eagles general manager Howie Roseman) discussed moving Goedert in a trade with the Vikings,” Fansided’s Matt Lombardo reported.
Goedert is a much more proven tight end in the league, leaving many to wonder why a deal didn’t happen with the Eagles.
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Ghosts of Spielman’s Past
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has a troubled history with Philadelphia.
The Sam Bradford trade between the two teams in 2016 proved to be what Roseman called a “franchise-changing” trade. Spielman sent first- and fourth-round picks to the Eagles to acquire Bradford, who played just 17 games in two seasons in Minnesota.
The move not only elevated Carson Wentz to a starting role but also cleared cap space to sign Alshon Jeffrey and build a Super Bowl-winning roster in 2017. Jeffrey caught a pair of touchdown passes and gained 85 yards in the NFC Championship game against the Vikings, who ironically tried to sign him in that offseason.
“We had a chance to not only get the resources in terms of draft picks back, but get the money back we were going to pay Sam,” Roseman said, via Business Insider. “That allowed us to sign Alshon. We were able to get a first and a fourth and $11 million, really when you look at it, that allowed us to improve our team around Carson.”
There’s a theory floating through Eagles media circles that Roseman was trying to fleece Spielman again.
“Talked to my guys from (Locked On Birds podcast) and they believe Roseman as trying to take advantage of the Vikes like the Sam Bradford trade that netted Philly a 1st & 4th,” Locked On Cards’ Bo Brack tweeted.
Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz had yet to speak publicly of his mended relationship with the franchise, which could have led Roseman to overvalue Goedert as their potential TE1 this season in the trade discussions.
Instead, Spielman pivoted elsewhere in the league and found Herndon — a move that has been met with some scrutiny.
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Herndon vs. Goedert
A 2018 second-round draft pick, Goedert was the third tight end to come off the board while Herndon was picked in the fourth round and seventh off the tight end board.
Herndon emerged as the Jets’ top receiving tight end toward the end of his rookie season, tallying 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. He’s struggled since suffering a broken rib injury that forced him to miss the majority of the 2019 season.
Goedert has yet to assume a true TE1 role but has seen more volume with the Eagles than Herndon in New York. However, the two tight ends production has been similar in their careers so far.
Goedert, entering a contract year, could be deemed a breakout candidate in his own right. He is also a much stronger run-blocker than Herndon, who the Vikings hope can take on a blocking role that can allow Tyler Conklin to be the team’s primary receiving option at tight end.
Philadelphia likely wasn’t willing to part ways with Goedert for anything less than a second-rounder, which is likely too steep a price for the Vikings to pay for a one-year rental.