Could the Patriots be interested in trading for Kyle Rudolph?

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

Following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, could the New England Patriots be interested in trading for the veteran Minnesota Vikings tight end?

During the 2019 offseason, the Minnesota Vikings have not been as active in free agency as some of their fans probably would have liked. But there’s a reason for that.

Salary cap space is limited for the Vikings this year, so they haven’t been able to make as much noise with free agent signings as they have in the past. Minnesota has still added and re-signed some players. But other than Anthony Barr, none of these decisions have caused a ton of excitement within the team’s fan base.

One way for the Vikings to free up some more money and also acquire another selection or two for this year’s NFL Draft would be to try and trade tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Rudolph is entering the final season of his contract with Minnesota and he’s due to make around $7 million. While his agent has come out and stated that the Vikings have said the tight end will be on their roster for 2019, sending him elsewhere may be hard for the team to resist if the right offer comes along.

One team that might be interested in acquiring Rudolph’s services for next season now is the New England Patriots.

On Sunday, it was revealed that longtime Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has decided to retire from the NFL. Gronkowski’s retirement now leaves New England with a big hole on their tight end depth chart.

If the Patriots end up looking for a veteran to replace their former tight end, Rudolph could be a guy they go after.

New England has never been a franchise that’s afraid to pull the trigger on a trade. The Patriots have actually made six trades since 2018 that involved both players and draft picks.

Currently, New England has 12 selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, so they have some ammo to add a player like Rudolph to their roster. Two of these picks are in the second round and three are third-round selections.

It seems unlikely that Minnesota would receive a second-round draft pick from the Patriots in exchange for the veteran tight end. But, it’s possible that New England would be willing to trade one of their later third-round selections or their lone fourth-round pick to acquire Rudolph.

If the Patriots offer the Vikings a fourth-round draft pick or higher for the tight end, then that is a move that Minnesota needs to seriously consider.

Rudolph has been a consistent part of the Vikings’ offense for the past eight seasons, but he’s approaching the backend of his career and this may be one of the few opportunities for the team to get some semi-decent compensation for him in a trade.

The talent of the tight ends in the 2019 draft class could help Minnesota in their decision to trade Rudolph or not. There are a handful of prospects this year that have the possibility of coming in and providing the Vikings’ offense with a satisfying amount of production next season and they would cost the team a lot less than the veteran.

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Realistically, Rudolph seems like he might end up being on Minnesota’s roster for his entire career. But one should never assume anything as long as Rick Spielman continues to be the Vikings’ general manger.