The New England Patriots are reportedly on the radar for free agent Kyle Rudolph.
Rudolph spent 10 seasons with Minnesota after arriving in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Notre Dame product was selected to two Pro Bowls over that span. He started 132 games to total 453 receptions for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns — a franchise record among tight ends.
A four-time team captain and three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Rudolph appeared in 12 contests for the Vikings last season. Those contests included 28 receptions for 334 yards and one trip to the end zone over 52 percent of the offensive snaps.
New England had trade discussions regarding Rudolph a pair of offseasons ago. A four-year, $36 million contract extension followed.
Rudolph was scheduled to carry a base salary north of $7 million and a cap number north of $9 million in 2021. His release cleared $5 million in cap space for Minnesota while leaving $4.35 million in dead money, according to OverTheCap.com.
Third-round picks Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene finished their rookie seasons as the lone tight ends on New England’s 53-man depth chart. Ryan Izzo and opt-out Matt LaCosse also remain under contract after a campaign in which the position combined for a league-low 18 receptions to go with 254 yards and one touchdown.
The new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET on March 17.