The Duel

The Vikings Should Trade This Player While They Still Can

Tristan Jung
The Minnesota Vikings should trade this player away while they can still get a solid return for him.
The Minnesota Vikings should trade this player away while they can still get a solid return for him. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Coming off another playoff appearance, the Minnesota Vikings have established themselves as one of the best teams in the NFC. However, with success comes salary cap issues as the Vikings look to manage a group of young stars on defense while keeping their powerful offense intact.

We already saw the Vikings make one big trade by dealing Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. However, it might be time for the Vikings to trade another offensive piece, tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Rudolph has been with the Vikings for his entire nine-year career. He's made two Pro Bowl teams and distinguished himself as one of the better tight ends in football, but he's now over 30 years old and likely to start declining.

In 2020, Rudolph's numbers dropped significantly—he only had 367 yards and his targets dropped from 82 to 48. While Rudolph's decline can partly be blamed on Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' nonexistent passing offense for the first half of the year, rookie tight end Irv Smith tallied 47 targets and 311 yards, nearly as many as Rudolph.

Smith looks like he's going to be the Vikings' tight end of the future, which makes Rudolph expendable. He's already put his Minnesota mansion on sale this week, which is never a good sign. Rudolph is on a four-year, $36 million contract that doesn't expire until 2024, and the Vikings might not want to have him around for that long. Now that the June 1st deadline has passed, Minnesota wouldn't incur too much dead money from the trade, saving around $7 million in 2020 and $5 million in 2021.

Since Rudolph is still a productive player at a thin position, many teams would be happy to trade for him, even at that salary figure, so the Vikings could ask for a reasonable draft pick in return.

Rudolph is a fan favorite and would be sorely missed, as he's one of the few veterans left over from the early 2010s Vikings teams. However, with Minnesota on course to give extensions to Anthony Harris, Dalvin Cook, and Ifeadi Odenigbo, the Vikings may need to part ways with their No. 1 tight end.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.