Why the Minnesota Vikings should consider trading Kyle Rudolph

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Tedric Thompson #33 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter in the preseason game on August 24, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

The tight end position is evolving

Probably the first criticism of Kyle Rudolph’s game is that he’s not athletic enough to be a part of a modern NFL offense. While his stats tell a different story, the evolution of the tight end position has pushed the Vikings to search for a more athletic compliment (or replacement) for Rudolph.

In this past NFL Draft, Iowa tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were taken in the first round and the Vikings followed suit by drafting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round. Expanded for the past couple of seasons, tight ends such as David Njoku, Evan Engram, and O.J. Howard have been taken in the first round as teams look for a mismatch in the seam.

It might be unfair to compare Rudolph’s athletic profile on PlayerProfiler to those tight ends, but it is fair to compare the two tight ends that Rudolph’s agent, Brian Murphy, mentioned in an Instagram post after Smith was drafted.

In the case of Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce, both posted superior athletic profiles to Rudolph. This may be a mere suggestion that Rudolph wins in ways that both Ertz and Kelce don’t, but the Eagles even doubled up on the athletic tight end profile drafting Dallas Goedert in the second round of the 2017 draft.

The game is changing and perhaps Rudolph is beginning to be phased out of it.