Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is interested in joining the New England Patriots, according to a report by NESN’s Doug Kyed.
Rudolph played in 12 games last year, catching 28 passes for 334 yards. The 31-year-old has never been a free agent before but has made two Pro Bowls. Per Kyed, the Patriots have had “major” interest in Rudolph in the past and tried to trade for him as recently as two years ago.
Rudolph wrote a goodbye to Minnesota in the Players’ Tribune following the Vikings’ decision.
“I got so lucky, because — I didn’t just get drafted by some team who ‘had a need at tight end,'” he wrote. “I didn’t just get drafted as, like, the nameless, faceless ‘#1 tight end on the board.’ I got drafted by a team that was all set in terms of need … but then drafted me anyway. …
“My career is my career, and I’m really excited about whatever is around the corner. I think I have a lot of good football still to play — and the fire inside of me to win a Super Bowl is burning as strong as ever. That’s the one big goal I have left.”
Vikings GM Rick Spielman released a statement praising Rudolph, calling him “one of the premier tight ends in the NFL and most influential and positive leaders I’ve ever been around.”
“Kyle and [his wife] Jordan have made such an immeasurable impact on our team and community that may never be matched,” Spielman said. “The energy they have invested in the community, most notably through the End Zone at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, is truly remarkable. I admire Kyle and we will miss him and his family. We sincerely wish them the best.”
The Patriots selected two tight ends in the third round of the 2020 draft — Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene — but could bring Rudolph in to bridge the gap until one or both of Asiasi and Keene are ready to contribute on a regular basis.
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