Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph says there was never 'any real opportunity' with Patriots

Kyle Rudolph says there was never 'any real opportunity' with Patriots

Before Kyle Rudolph agreed to a contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings on June 10, many believed he'd wind up with the New England Patriots.

The Patriots needed someone to fill Rob Gronkowski's massive shoes at tight end, after all, and Rudolph played his college ball under former New England defensive coordinator Charlie Weis at Notre Dame.

But Rudolph insists there was no real merit to reports that he'd join the Patriots other than pundits simply connecting dots.

"I don't know how real those trade possibilities were,” Rudolph told the MMQB's Albert Breer. "But, like you said, I played for Charlie. So for me, I've kind of followed that organization from afar since 2008 when I got my first Notre Dame playbook and we watched cut-ups from the Patriots offense that we were running.

"I have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for what they've done over the last two decades. But I don't know that there was ever any real opportunity there."

From a football standpoint, it appears Rudolph would have a had real opportunity to thrive in New England; the two-time Pro Bowler would have been quarterback Tom Brady's No. 1 tight end in an offense that leans heavily on the position. (Remember when Tim Wright caught a career-high six touchdowns for the Patriots in 2014?)

But it's unlikely the Patriots would have matched the four-year, $36 million contract the Vikings gave Rudolph, who clearly desired to remain with the team that drafted him.

That means New England must look elsewhere for tight end help after Benjamin Watson's four-game suspension, Austin Seferian-Jenkins' release and a failed trade with the Detroit Lions for Michael Roberts.

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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.

Patriots' next order of business? Tom Brady's contract>>>

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.

CURRAN AND PERRY: Which Pats FA will have biggest impact?>>>

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