Recently signed to an extension that keeps him with the Vikings, Kyle Rudolph claims there never was much merit to rumors linking him with the Patriots.
Fresh off signing a four-year, $36 million deal, the Kyle Rudolph/New England Patriots marriage rumors are about as dead as a doornail.
Considering the Minnesota Vikings drafted talented tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round just a month after the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement, the idea of Rudolph coming to Foxborough seemed to make a lot of sense to a lot of people. Various reports suggested that New England did their due diligence on whether Rudolph was available or not; some of those reports seemed to intimate he might be, while others espoused the idea that the Vikings liked their new two-headed monster at tight end and were content to keep him.
As it turns out, the whole prospect of Rudolph coming to Gillette may have never gotten off the ground to begin with. In a recent conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Rudolph seemed to suggest that the rumors linking him to the Pats were never much more than that: just rumors.
“I don’t know how real those trade possibilities were,” Rudolph told Breer. “But, like you said, I played for (former New England offensive coordinator) Charlie (Weis). So for me, I’ve kind of followed that organization from afar since 2008 when I got my first Notre Dame playbook and we watched cut-ups from the Patriots offense that we were running. I have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for what they’ve done over the last two decades. But I don’t know that there was ever any real opportunity there.”
Rudolph admitted that while it was always his first choice to get an extension done that would keep him in Minnesota for the foreseeable future, he also understood why so many talking heads in the media (and fans in Boston) wanted to see him suit up for the Pats in 2019.
"“Obviously the speculation is going to be there because of their situation at my position and then our team’s cash/cap situation and my salary. So there was kind of just a natural, like, ‘Hey, Kyle’s familiar with the offense, he played for a coach that was a coordinator there.’”"
For the time being, it appears that New England must continue to weigh its remaining options when it comes to the vacant tight end position left behind by Gronkowski. With Rudolph locked up elsewhere, Benjamin Watson suspended, Austin Seferian-Jenkins released, and the Michael Roberts trade rescinded, the Pats are still searching for a viable Week 1 candidate to start for them at TE.