As the Speculation Picks Up Momentum, Kyle Rudolph Offers a Suggestion for his Former Team

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings
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Minnesota winters can get pretty nasty. When a snowball gets rolled through the snow, it’ll pick up more and more mass. Eventually, the hand-held snowball will become a snow boulder, one capable of doing some serious damage if it gets pushed down a hill to acquire even more mass.

At this stage, the Kirk Cousins trade speculation feels a bit similar, and Kyle Rudolph isn’t doing anything to keep the snowball from rolling down the hill.

The former Vikings tight end insists that Minnesota should at least consider an offer from the New York Jets. “If I’m the Jets, it’s a phone call that I have to make to at least find out,” Rudolph explained for Fox Sports Radio, “And if you’re the Vikings, I think it’s a phone call you have to take.”

Kyle Rudolph, Kirk Cousins, & The Trade Rumors that Won’t Quit

While in Minnesota, Rudolph made it a point to support his quarterback.

Nov 29, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a pass during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After all, the veteran tight end is the one who caught the Kirk Cousins pass during the overtime playoff victory over the Saints. In the interview following the game with FOX, Rudolph was sure to note his pride in his team before the tongue-in-cheek comment: “Yeah, I’m just glad Kirk can’t win big games, apparently.” Not long after arriving in Minnesota, Cousins referred to throwing to Rudolph as being akin to throwing to a “mattress,” a comment Cousins meant as a compliment.

Fast forward a few years and the conversation has changed.

Kyle Rudolph is no longer employed by the Vikings. Kirk Cousins still is, but there’s a prominent theory that a few more losses could mean the QB1 is being sent elsewhere. The Jets sit atop the rumors given the brash confidence of their head coach, talented roster, and, of course, injured starting quarterback. If healthy, Aaron Rodgers likely would have made the Jets a contender in the AFC, but Zach Wilson has very little chance of doing so.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares to throw a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s recent moves suggest the GM and HC think there’s still hope for the year. Dalton Risner has been signed and Cam Akers is a trade acquisition. The end result is a pair of offensive players seeking to introduce more balance by upping the team’s ability to run the football. In turn, Cousins should get walloped less.

The formula should look something like this: run the football more effectively + a less hit Cousins = profit more wins. Readers can decide for themselves whether they need more convincing.

Splash in Free Agency
Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner (66) on field against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In all likelihood, the Vikings would only give an offer serious consideration if there was a 1st-round selection arriving in Minnesota. Plus, the team would need to be completely out of the playoff race. At that point, the focus would shift far more to the “rebuild” portion of the GM’s (in)famous competitive rebuild.

The Vikings could, in theory, trot into the 2024 NFL Draft with their own selection (a high one, to be sure) alongside whatever the Jets send (presumably a 1st). Oh, and then there would be the other seven selections currently sitting in the coffers.

The surest way to defeat these rumors is to see some wins. Starting on Sunday, the Vikings get the chance to turn their season around at U.S. Bank Stadium. The talented but similarly 0-2 Chargers are coming to town. Picking up the victory over Brandon Staley’s squad will slow down the snowball, even if it won’t ever fully stop rolling down the hill.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.