As we close in on the start of training camps across the NFL, there are several veteran players still sitting on the open market. One of the more recognizable names in that category at the tight end position is Kyle Rudolph. The 32-year-old reportedly had a workout with the Denver Broncos earlier this offseason, but the two sides never came together and agreed to a contract. Fast forward a few months and Rudolph’s market does appear to be heating up again as ESPN reports he is drawing interest from multiple teams.
The Buccaneers are one of the teams mentioned in the report to have an interest in Rudolph. While one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season, Tampa Bay did see a talent drain at the tight end position this offseason. O.J. Howard signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency and Rob Gronkowski retired, leaving Cameron Brate as the only tight end on the roster with significant NFL experience.
Meanwhile, a reunion with the Minnesota Vikings is also a possibility, according to this latest report. Rudolph spent the first 10 seasons of his NFL career with the Vikings and was one of the greatest tight ends in the franchise’s history. He currently ranks 10th on the club’s all-time receiving yards list and sixth in both receptions and receiving touchdowns.
Minnesota still has Irv Smith Jr. as its starting tight end, but is expected to be a more pass-heavy offense in 2022 under new head coach Kevin O’Connell, so adding another pass-catching tight end like Rudolph could be a savvy addition for this year’s club along with being a good homecoming storyline.
Rudolph’s lone season outside of Minneapolis came in 2021 with the New York Giants. He played 16 games (13 starts) for the club, but wasn’t much of a factor in the receiving game, logging the second-lowest receptions and third-lowest receiving yards totals of his career. His 16.1 receiving yards per game average was also the lowest of his career.