Rudolph’s days are numbered
For just the fourth time in team history, the Vikings used a second-round draft pick on a tight end last spring. Minnesota selected Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. and some saw it as an indication of Kyle Rudolph’s time with the team is nearing the end.
Well, despite Rudolph signing an extension with the Vikings this summer, Smith showed flashes on Sunday that could result in the veteran tight end being shown the door after the season.
Against the Raiders this week, Smith hauled in three passes for 60 yards. His receiving yardage total is the highest in a single game by a Minnesota rookie tight end since 1980.
During his opportunities on Sunday, Smith displayed a kind of speed and athleticism that the Vikings don’t get from a guy like Rudolph. Combined with the rookie’s blocking skills, he’s definitely got the potential to take over Minnesota’s No. 1 tight end role next season if he has more days like he had against Oakland.