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Vikings could trade Kyle Rudolph after talks break off

When the Minnesota Vikings grabbed 20-year-old tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Kyle Rudolph's name was immediately reported to be on the chopping block.

Now the veteran tight end is on the trade block.

Rudolph is a potential trade candidate out of Minnesota after extension talks between him and the Vikings broke down on Friday morning, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. There is interest in Rudolph's services around the league, Rapoport added.

Entering the final year of a five-year extension signed in 2014, Rudolph is owed around $7.6 million in 2019, making him the Vikings' fifth-highest paid offensive player behind Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Riley Reiff and Adam Thielen.

Rudolph, soon to be 30 years old, hasn't missed a game since midway through the 2014 season and hasn't seen his production dip too much in recent years. The tight end reeled in 64 catches for 634 yards and four scores in 2018, and Rudolph made a Pro Bowl appearance in 2017.

But the demand for pass-catching tight ends is high league-wide, and with Smith in tow, Minnesota now has a surplus. Aside from Smith, the Vikings also employ David Morgan, Tyler Conklin, Cole Hikutini and Brandon Dillon at the position.

Since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2011, Rudolph ranks fourth among all tight ends in receiving scores (41), 10th in receptions (386) and 12th in receiving yards (3,787).

Rudolph is still a more than capable starting tight end in this league. But if Minnesota doesn't want him, or doesn't want to pay him, then the Vikings need to send him to a team that is willing to shell out top-five tight end money ($7.6M) for Rudolph in 2019 and/or agree to his extension demands.

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