The Minnesota Vikings parted ways with tight end Kyle Rudolph on March 2nd, 2021, after ten years of service with the team. His lofty contract was not conducive to Minnesota’s then-skimpy free-agent budget.
Last week, Rudolph found a home in New York — the Giants signed on for Rudolph’s life-after-Minnesota at a two-year, $12 million price tag. The Giants outfitted their offense with Rudolph and a robust accumulation on weaponry that notably includes Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and a reclamation project in John Ross.
But now New York must pump the brakes on Rudolph’s immediate addition to the roster.
There’s a snag in the #Giants’ addition of TE Kyle Rudolph. Sources say the team’s medical staff is concerned with Rudolph’s foot after his physical and believes he’ll need surgery. The sides are discussing how to proceed. The two-year deal was agreed to but not yet signed.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 23, 2021
Rudolph was a staple inside the Vikings offense for several years. He was even targeted by quarterback Sam Bradford a whopping 132 times during the disappointing 2016 campaign. That’s Travis Kelce type of stuff for attention in the passing game. Ultimately, the Notre Dame alumnus departed the franchise at the beginning of March as the owner of the following distinctions: 1st in Receiving Touchdowns by a Tight End, 2nd in Receiving Yards by a Tight End, 5th in Receiving Touchdowns overall, 5th in Receptions overall (even more than Sammy White), and 10th in Receiving Yards overall.
Now, his future in New York is uncertain. The “concern over Rudolph’s foot” can be resolved in three ways.
First, general manager Dave Gettelman can take a leap of faith and hope the matter is much ado about nothing. That seems like a bold strategy as all NFL teams were forced to get creative with cap space amid the coronavirus-laded revisions to budgets. But — it could happen.
Next, the Giants took still take the jump and retain Rudolph on the roster — at a revised price. Unfortunately for Rudolph, the zeal surrounding his 2021 forecast is diminished if he has a worrisome injury. However, he would still have a home with the Giants and could rehab his foot.
Or — New York could outright say no thanks and cancel the deal altogether. That would leave Rudolph out in the Manhattan cold, presumably with a prognosis to take a year off and heal. Rudolph will turn 32 this season, so he has plenty of meaningful football left — assuming the foot ordeal is not too detrimental.
At some juncture — because he loves Minnesota, and Minnesota loves him — he will likely return to the Vikings to “finish out his career.” That will not occur now, but his longstanding and genuinely compassionate personality is one that will probably be welcomed back by the Vikings as Rudolph travels into his mid-30s.
Consider that a VikingsTerritory prediction, although not incredibly bold.