Kyle Rudolph

Report: Kyle Rudolph signs extension with Vikings, shutting down Patriots trade rumors

Report: Kyle Rudolph signs extension with Vikings, shutting down Patriots trade rumors

The New England Patriots were rumored to have an interest in Kyle Rudolph this offseason. And it made sense. Rob Gronkowski had retired, and the team had a gaping hole at the tight end position as a result.

In recent weeks, that hole has only gotten larger. The team found out that Ben Watson was suspended for the first four games of the season and cut Austin Seferian-Jenkins as he deals with personal issues. That's part of the reason that they were tied to Rudolph in trade rumors, but nothing substantial ever came of that.

Late Monday night, a resolution came to the Rudolph rumors. He is preparing to sign an extension with the Minnesota Vikings, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.

Given that the Patriots never seemed to show significant interest in Rudolph, this isn't a big deal. But, it does significantly water down the trade market if the team does decide to add somebody to help at the position.

For the time being, the team seems content to stick with what they have at the tight end position. They will likely roll with Matt LaCosse as the starter at least until Watson returns to action.

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UPDATE (Tuesday, June 11, 8 a.m. ET): Rudolph confirmed news of his pending extension on Twitter, and according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the tight end is getting a four-year deal.

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Kyle Rudolph 'wants to be in Minnesota', trade chances look slim

Kyle Rudolph 'wants to be in Minnesota', trade chances look slim

After selecting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings were reportedly considering trading their long-time starter at tight end, Kyle Rudolph. And when Rudolph's name was mentioned on the open market, teams naturally connected him to the New England Patriots.

The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement, and the veteran Rudolph would certainly qualify as a solid replacement. There were reports that the Patriots discussed Rudolph with the Vikings, but nothing ever came of that. And now, it seems that Rudolph and the Vikings are determined to make things work.

"Yeah, no question," Rudolph said to Scott Hanson on NFL Total Access. "Throughout all of this, that's been the easiest thing. We want to be in Minnesota. We want to make sure we exhaust every possible option to make sure that we stay in Minnesota.

"With that being said, the Vikings feel the same way. They want to keep me in Minnesota. They want me to finish my career in Minnesota. So we're both on the same side of things. It's just a matter of finding a way to get it done within the salary cap."

This further quashes the notion that Rudolph could come to New England. The chances were already slim after the team signed Ben Watson to a deal and after the Vikings and Rudolph reportedly were working on an extension, so this isn't much of a surprise.

That said, with Watson suspended for the first four games of the season, the Patriots could have struck up a renewed interest in negotiations had Rudolph still been available. Instead, it seems that they will roll with what they have at the position. Currently, that includes Watson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson, and Andrew Beck.

Jakob Johnson is also currently on the roster, but as part of the NFL's International Pathway's Program, the Patriots can stash him in a special 11th spot on the practice squad for the 2019 campaign. Expect Bill Belichick to take advantage of that unless Johnson has a terrific showing during the offseason.

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Report: Patriots have had discussions with Vikings about Kyle Rudolph

Report: Patriots have had discussions with Vikings about Kyle Rudolph

As OTA's begin and we draw closer to mandatory minicamp, the Patriots have reportedly had discussions with the Vikings about a trade for tight end Kyle Rudolph. 

Rudolph is entering the final year of his contract with Minnesota and is due $7.625 million. He is unwilling to take a pay cut, so the Patriots would have to create space to execute a trade. The two-time Pro Bowl tight end caught 64 passes for 634 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. 

Since Rob Gronkowski's retirement, the Patriots have signed Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Benjamin Watson to one-year contracts. They also signed Matt LaCosse to add depth to the position before Gronkowski retired. 

However, Rudolph is proven to be a far more productive tight end than all three of the players the Patriots brought in to replace Gronkowski. If the price tag for him is as low as Girardi suggests, Bill Belichick might want to think about creating cap space for Rudolph. Restructuring Tom Brady's $27 million cap figure could be a way to make the necessary space. 

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