5 Minnesota Vikings on the hot seat at the 2020 midseason point

(Photo by David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /

Kyle Rudolph – TE

There is little doubt that Kyle Rudolph has been a tremendous servant to the Vikings. The tight end has been a key component behind the team’s success since his arrival as a second-round pick in 2011. But the veteran might just find himself as a potential salary-cap casualty moving forward.

Minnesota is truly up against it financially next season. They are already projected to be $5 million over the 2021 cap and with it potentially coming down further due to revenue losses related to COVID-19, some difficult decisions are no doubt upcoming for the likes of general manager Rick Spielman.

Rudolph is still performing well, albeit in a lesser role. His blocking has always been of a high standard and having a prominent locker room leader who’s seen it all is another element to his overall influence that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Another reason Rudolph finds himself on the hot seat at the 2020 midseason point is the increasing emergence of Irv Smith Jr. in Minnesota’s offense. The second-year-pro out of Alabama is growing in stature with every passing game and his two-touchdown outing against the Lions only heightened expectations surrounding his ability to make more of an impression over the next eight games.

The former Notre Dame standout would be hard to replace both on the field and within the locker room. But with Rudolph’s production and snaps decreasing, it’s probably not going to be financially viable for the Vikings to keep him around in 2021.