4 recent departures the Minnesota Vikings will miss most in 2021

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /

Kyle Rudolph – TE

Everything wasn’t a bed of roses between Kyle Rudolph and the Vikings once the 2020 season concluded. The tight end made no secret of his unhappiness regarding a lack of involvement in the passing game, which was probably a parting shot from a player who knew his days with the organization were numbered.

Rudolph was a salary-cap casualty as expected, eventually signing with the New York Giants. The former Pro Bowler gave absolutely everything to the cause during his time in Minnesota, but the simple fact of the matter is his production no longer matched the salary, and the Vikings made the right call cutting him loose.

Whether others can step up to fill the void remains to be seen.

Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin will share the responsibility moving forward, with the onus on the Alabama product becoming the No. 1 option Minnesota expected him to be when they took him in the second round of the 2019 draft.

The pair got a big vote of confidence from the Vikings this offseason. Those in power decided not to bring in additional reinforcements in the wake of Rudolph’s departure, but if they fail to make the most out of this chance, then letting the veteran go could come back to haunt them.

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Only time will tell as to how this situation will play out. Although Rudolph might be missed on and off the field initially, moving in a different direction is something that could have long-term benefits.