Why the Vikings should steer clear of re-signing Kyle Rudolph

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph recently revealed an interest in returning to his old team for the upcoming 2022 season.

During the spring of 2019, Kyle Rudolph walked into the practice facilities of the Minnesota Vikings wearing a white hoodie with the message “LOTS OF GAME LEFT” plastered across the front.

Later that year, Rudolph went on to finish the 2019 campaign with his fewest receptions and receiving yards in a single season since 2014. Unfortunately for Minnesota, this performance came after the team awarded the veteran tight end with a lucrative contract extension earlier in the year.

That season was a sign that the end of Rudolph’s time in the NFL was getting closer, whether he liked it or not. In the two years since the 2019 campaign with the Vikings, he’s hauled in a grand total of two touchdowns.

Why there is no need for the Minnesota Vikings to bring back Kyle Rudolph

Earlier this week, Rudolph said that he would “absolutely” like to play for Minnesota next season or in the future. That’s a statement that’s going to get a bunch of likes on Twitter, but him suiting up for the Vikings in 2022 isn’t very realistic.

Currently, Minnesota has six tight ends on their 2022 roster. Irv Smith Jr. is the clear No. 1 of the group and guys like Johnny MundtBen Ellefson, and Nick Muse will likely be battling in training camp this summer for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the depth chart.

Right now, the Vikings don’t really have a need to bring back Rudolph for another tenure in the Twin Cities. Could this change if Minnesota’s tight end group is hit with a few injuries before the start of the regular season? Sure, but even then, the chances of the Vikings re-signing Rudolph would still be pretty low.

At this point in his career, there really isn’t much of an upside to bringing the former second-round pick back for the 2022 season. Rudolph has put up pedestrian numbers in his last two years in the NFL, averaging 27 catches, just under 300 yards, and one touchdown since 2020, and that production isn’t enough to take snaps away from a younger tight end who hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

During his 10 seasons with Minnesota, Rudolph provided the team with plenty of memorable moments. But that was then, and right now, the Vikings are better off by giving other tight ends the opportunities to create their own moments in a purple and gold uniform.

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