Purple Rumor Mill: Budda Baker, Kyle Rudolph’s Status, the New York Jets

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (32) reacts in the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the July 15th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Budda Baker, Kyle Rudolph’s Status, the New York Jets

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings should trade for Budda Baker.

Budda Baker
Oct 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Strong safety Harrison Smith will likely play for one or two more seasons. The end is nigh for the Vikings great.

So, in an article this week forecasting bold training camp predictionsBleacher Report theorized a Vikings trade for Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals. BR’s Maurice Moton wrote, “Even though the Minnesota Vikings are at a contract impasse with defensive end Danielle Hunter, Baker may not want to reset the safety market with a viable contender (based on the wording in Schefter’s report). Perhaps the Vikings can satisfy Hunter and Baker with short-term pay raises; they have $18 million in cap space.”

Baker is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.

“In the early weeks of training camp, Minnesota may not see enough out of second-year safety Lewis Cine, who’s coming off a compound leg fracture that required surgery, to trust him in a starting role. As a solution to bolster a pass defense that gave up the second-most yards last year, the Vikings could make an attempt to acquire Baker,” Moton concluded.

This is unlikely to come to fruition, but stranger things have happened.

Rumor: Kyle Rudolph appears to have retired.

Oct 20, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Rudolph will do commentary for Big 10 games on NBC this year, implying his NFL career is kaput.

He told The Athletic recently about his excitement with the new gig, “One hundred percent. It was without question the reason why. I’m an anomaly, played 12 years in the NFL before starting my next chapter, but Notre Dame was still there opening doors and giving me opportunities.”

In theory, Rudolph could sign with an NFL team, but he’s successfully found his way to the announcer’s booth in the meantime.

Rumor: All signs point to Dalvin Cook signing with the Jets.

Apr 30, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the court after game one of the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Dalvin Cook’s agent, Zac Hiller, was asked about his client joining the Jets last week, and he replied, “I think the Jets have a great thing going.”

Cook ranks fourth in rushing yards and sixth in rushing touchdowns since turning pro in 2017. Minnesota parted ways with him this offseason for cap-saving purposes.

“They’re all in. They want to win a Super Bowl. I think they want to bring a Super Bowl to New York City. They brought in an incredible, first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback. Those types of players aren’t just out there like that,” Hiller continued.

He also said about Rodgers and Cook’s possibility of landing in New York, “To get the opportunity to play with somebody of that caliber, you know you can go to the Super Bowl, and that’s all it’s about. It’s winning Super Bowls, right? You play football your whole life for the opportunity to get to the highest level, and that’s winning a Super Bowl. So, as far as the New York Jets, I believe they’re right there, I really do.”

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks ago, former Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin told Good Morning Football that he was recruiting Cook.

The Jets should be considered the current frontrunner for Cook’s services — with a side dish of the Miami Dolphins.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.