After eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Kyle Rudolph’s future with the franchise looks murky this offseason. He’s entering a contract year in 2019, taking up a $7.6 million cap hit. Extension negotiations between him and the team have reportedly fallen apart, leading the trade rumors to swirl. In addition, the Vikings used their second-round selection on Rudolph’s eventual replacement, Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama.
Rudolph may not have the star power like Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, but he’s a highly efficient and consistent tight end and has been for several seasons. He’s one of just six NFL tight ends to rack up at least 2,000 yards over the last three seasons. During that span, the 29-year-old also has 19 touchdowns, fourth at his position.
As one of the most consistent receiving tight ends in the league, Rudolph would be sought after by several teams if he is indeed on the trading block. However, one contending AFC team stands out as a perfect fit: the Houston Texans.
Houston has reached the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, mostly led by a terrific defense. However, the offense is improving rapidly behind budding star Deshaun Watson. The Texans made the playoffs in 2016 with the fifth-worst scoring offense and a minus-49 point differential. Last year, they finished just outside the top-10 in scoring, posting a plus-86 point differential.
Even with stud receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Rudolph would take this offense to the next level. Houston has been missing a quality tight end for years after Owen Daniels left after the 2013 season. Daniels recorded over 600 yards four times with Houston; no Houston tight end has done that since.
As mentioned, Rudolph has over 2,000 yards over the last three seasons, good a 669-yard average. He’s scored at least seven touchdowns three times in his career while no Texans tight end has ever had more than six.
Combine those numbers and the fact that Rudolph hasn’t missed a regular-season game since 2014 and he’s a perfect addition to Houston’s roster. The cap hit won’t be an issue either, as the Texans have over $35 million in cap space to work with.