The Vikings said that drafting tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of last month’s draft was not a sign that they were pushing Kyle Rudolph off the roster, but a parting of the ways may be in the cards.
Rudolph is in the final year of his contract and he had been talking to the Vikings about an extension that would extend that stay. An extension would likely lessen Rudolph’s $7.625 million cap hit for the 2019 season as well, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that talks about a new deal broke off on Friday.
The need to clear cap space was related to reports that the Vikings were fielding calls about trading Rudolph and other veteran members of the team, but General Manager Rick Spielman downplayed the seriousness of those discussions.
Friday’s development will likely lead to another round of calls to Spielman from teams interested in Rudolph and it could lead to a different answer from the Vikings.