Former Vikings Star Kyle Rudolph Linked to NFC North Rival in Free Agency

Kyle Rudolph Vikings

Getty Kyle Rudolph addressed the Vikings' decision to send Kirk Cousins into a contract year for the 2023 season.

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph remains a free agent after a draft weekend where many teams have filled out their 90-man rosters to start training camp this summer.

However, 11 years an NFL veteran, Rudolph is ready to go whenever his number is called.

He was recently linked to an NFC rival of the Vikings by Bleacher Report as a free agent would could help fill holes left after the draft.

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Rudolph Linked to Packers

Bleacher Report’s Michelle Bruton listed 10 free agents who could fill remaining roles on rosters around the league. She named Rudolph as a potential solution to the Green Bay Packers‘ lack of depth at tight end.

The Packers tried to swing Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller amid trade talks for Davante Adams, but the deal was struck down due to a league rule that prohibits players from being part of a trade package on an unsigned franchise tag.

Instead, the Packers received first- and second-round picks in the upcoming draft, which they used to select Georiga linebacker Quay Wyatt in the first round and Adams’ de-facto replacement in Christian Watson, whom the Packers traded up with the Vikings for at the No. 34 overall pick in the draft.

An NDSU product, Watson is a raw talent that won’t compare to Adams, leaving the need for more support in the passing game after Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown left in free agency as well.

Rudolph could help in that respect. The 32-year-old veteran has touted he’s still in his physical prime and expressed his ambivalence for being relegated to a blocking role in his final days with the Vikings.

Rudolph, who still lives in Minnesota, could be closer to home by signing with the Packers after spending last season with the New York Giants.

Given the trend of the players often switching sides of the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, Bruton sees Rudolph’s signing, as not only beneficial for the Packers, but also one that has precedent.

“With the New York Giants last season, Rudolph tallied 257 yards and a touchdown on 26 receptions in 13 starts. With (Packers tight end Robert Tonyan) coming back from a torn ACL suffered in October, adding some veteran hands to the tight ends room at a reasonable price is a good strategy,” Brunton wrote. “The Packers and their rivals to the west frequently sign each other’s former players; in this case, Green Bay has had a front-row seat to scouting the 32-year-old for years, and his knowledge of the Minnesota Vikings’ offense certainly wouldn’t hurt to have.”

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Adofo-Mensah Answers for Helping NFC North Rivals in Draft Trades

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft as Vikings general manager will be defined by how his rival’s prospects pan out.

The former Wall Street trader applied his economics background on draft day and traded down twice with the Detroit Lions and Packers to collect more draft capital needed to rebuild Minnesota’s struggling defense.

Green Bay picked up a rookie wide receiver in NDSU’s Watson as did the Lions, who drafted Alabama dynamo Jameson Williams with the No. 12 overall pick.

Adofo-Mensah selected Georgia safety Lewis Cine (first round, No. 32 overall) and Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (second round, No. 42 overall) by using picks exchanged in the two trades.

How these rookie’s careers progress shouldn’t be defined by their first-year contributions alone, but hypothetically either of the Vikings rookie defensive backs get burnt by their rival rookie receivers this season, a spotlight will be put on last week’s draft decisions.

“A call was made, and obviously we thought heavily about, again, doing another trade [within] our division — for another receiver — and to that point on the board, I don’t believe we had a corner yet,” Adofo-Mensah said of the trade with the Packers. “So believe me, the gravity of that was not lost on me, but again, you’re supposed to make calculated decisions, and we did, and ultimately I think we were rewarded with what we did in the end.”

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