NFL rumors: Vikings could trade Kyle Rudolph after contract talks reportedly break down

After eight years in Minnesota, Kyle Rudolph's time with the Vikings could be coming to an end. 

Although Rudolph still has one year left on his current contract, that one year comes with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million, which is a lot of money for a cash-strapped team like the Vikings. To keep Rudolph in Minnesota, the Vikings had been hoping to work out some sort of extension that would have lowered his cap hit for 2019, but it appears that's not going to happen. 

According to NFL.com, the two sides have broken off contract talks, which could lead to Rudolph being traded. 

For Minnesota, the math is pretty simple: If Rudolph is still on the roster once the Vikings get their 2019 draft picks under contract, they'll only be left with about $800,000 in salary cap space, which is basically like having three dollars in your checking account. There's just not much you can do with that, and the Vikings seem to understand that, which is probably why there were reports before the draft that Minnesota was fielding interest about a possible Rudolph trade. 

If the Vikings were to trade Rudolph, it would instantly free up $7.6 million, which would give the team some serious salary cap breathing room. The Vikings would also get the same amount of savings if they were to cut Rudolph, but that wouldn't make much sense. For one, he's still a highly productive tight end who plays a big role in Minnesota's offense. If the Vikings were to lose him without getting anything in return, that would be a bad business decision. The fact that he's still productive also means that Rudolph definitely has some trade value, which means the Vikings shouldn't have any trouble making a deal if that's really what they want to do. Basically, you either keep him or you trade him. 

One reason a trade seems likely is because the Vikings already have Rudolph's replacement on the roster in the form of Irv Smith Jr., who they selected in the second round of this year's draft. 

The selection of Smith doesn't necessarily mean the Vikings are going to get rid of Rudolph, but the veteran tight end seems to be aware that a trade out of Minnesota is a distinct possibility. 

"Until it happens, I'm here in Minnesota," Rudolph said after the draft, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "My family is here in Minnesota. This is home for us. I have poured my heart and soul into this organization and given it everything that I had. I will continue to do that as long as I'm still wearing purple." 

In what can only be described as impeccable timing, I wrote an article on Thursday that gave the break down on seven trades that need to happen this offseason and Rudolph was at the top of the list. To see where I sent him, you'll have to click here

If that's not enough, our Sean Wagner-McGough went into more details on Rudolph and made a list of the six best potential landing spots for the tight end if the Vikings decide to trade him. You can read that article by clicking here

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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