The second round of the NFL draft is underway in Nashville and the Minnesota Vikings just recently made their pick at #50 overall. With their choice between defensive lineman, cornerbacks and wide receivers on the board, Rick Spielman opted to go tight end with Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama.
Irv is a a pass catching tight end, he's willing and ready to block and is very athletic. The immediate question quickly became, what does this mean for Kyle Rudolph?
Kyle's in an interesting spot right now. He's beloved by the fan base here in Minnesota for so many reasons, but he makes a lot of money. He's a good pass catcher, but a liability as a pass blocker. He's a leader in the locker room, but he makes a lot of money. All of these things will likely factor in to the Vikings decision going forward with Rudy one way or another.
Rudolph is set to make just over $7.6 million this year with NO DEAD CAP MONEY on the contract. That's key because no matter what they choose to do with him, if the team moves on they won't be on the hook for anything.
Likely, the Vikings are banging on the door of the New England Patriots and any other team to see what they might be willing to offer up for Rudy via trade. But if push came to shove, they could cut ties with Rudy, recoup the $7.6 million and finally have enough money to sign their draft class for 2019.
Now, there is a world where both TEs could live on this team in 2019. Kirk Cousins was known to rock some solid two tight end sets in Washington and adding another pass catcher wouldn't hurt Stefanski's offense one bit.