Vikings release Kyle Rudolph; should Patriots sign veteran TE?

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Justin Leger
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Vikings release Kyle Rudolph; should Pats sign veteran TE? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Another NFL veteran has hit the open market ahead of the 2021 season.

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they've released longtime tight end Kyle Rudolph.

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Rudolph, 31, was selected by the Vikings in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The two-time Pro Bowler was a key part of Minnesota's offense for most of his 10-year tenure. His most productive campaign came in 2016, when he caught 83 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns.

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With tight end being an area of concern for the New England Patriots, it's fair to wonder whether Rudolph could be a fit. However, his production has dropped off over the last couple of seasons as in 2020 he posted career lows in receiving yards (334) and touchdowns (one) in 12 games. Rather than gambling on an aging veteran, the Patriots may want to see more of the two tight ends they selected in the 2020 NFL Draft: Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.

Releasing Rudolph saved the Vikings about $5 million in cap space as he carried a $9.4 million cap figure for 2021.