Irv Smith Jr. hopes Kyle Rudolph stays with the Vikings for 2019

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr.
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Irv Smith Jr. /

The Minnesota Vikings rookie is already being viewed as a possible replacement for the veteran tight end, but he would like the two to work together in 2019.

It wasn’t very shock-inducing when the Minnesota Vikings selected former Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft.

Since 2011, the Vikings have been riding with Kyle Rudolph as their top tight end and many figure that his time in the league is likely inching closer to the end. After drafting Smith though, some have assumed that there could be friction between him and Rudolph in Minnesota’s locker room.

The rookie wants it to be known that this type of thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth. Smith recently appeared on NFL Network’s Total Access and discussed the opportunity to work with the Vikings’ veteran tight end in 2019.

"“(Rudolph has) embraced me. I’ve learned a lot already from him and I hope that he’s there (this season) because I can learn from him and we can be a great combination.”"

At least the Minnesota rookie already knows the right things to say in order to avoid any conflicts in the locker room. But it sounds like Smith genuinely wants Rudolph to remain on the Vikings’ roster, at least for the 2019 season.

After that, who knows?

Rudolph has been the subject of a lot of trade rumors recently, but it may be a good idea for Minnesota to keep him around during Smith’s rookie campaign.

Rookie tight ends in the NFL have not been known to make a very big impact in the recent past. So keeping an experienced veteran like Rudolph on the roster in 2019 seems like a decision the Vikings could benefit from.

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And like Smith said, maybe the two can even develop into a lethal tight end tandem. Minnesota certainly wouldn’t mind if this actually turned out to be the case.