Chargers trade option number two: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
This one is a little more realistic than the first one. The Chargers have a tight end problem. Hunter Henry cannot stay healthy, and he’ll play the 2020 season on the franchise tag.
The team has said they want to get a long term deal done, but it would be a mistake to sign him to an extension if he gets bitten by the injury bug again in 2020. When he’s healthy he’s a borderline elite player at his position. When he’s not healthy though, the team’s presence at tight end vanishes.
I like Virgil Green as a blocker, but he’s OK as a receiver at best. Donald Parham is tall, that’s pretty much all we know that he’ll be in the NFL. No one has any idea if he’ll be any good in the NFL, all due respect to the XFL but it shouldn’t be a surprise that a six-foot-eight inch, tight end with speed played well there.
Whether or not that speed and size translate to the NFL, no one knows; but I have my doubts. So when Henry goes down, what really is the plan? Is there one?
This is why trading for a guy like Kyle Rudolph, bringing this thing full circle from Field Yates here, makes a lot of sense to me. Rudolph doesn’t present the kind of ceiling Henry does, but he is absolutely more consistently available than Henry is.
Rudolph hasn’t missed a game in five years. Rudolph seemed to be taking that next step into the elite category in 2016 when he compiled 83 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Since then, the Vikings haven’t really featured him. They turned the offense over to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook most importantly.
Then, they also drafted his replacement in Irv Smith, who really ate into his target share this past season. Rudolph is on the verge of being replaced and he is older, I still think he’s got a few years left of being able to produce at a good level though. This trade makes sense for both sides. The Vikings don’t need Rudolph, but they do need more playmaking in their secondary after basically hitting eject on their 2019 version.
The Chargers need a capable number two tight end, who likely will serve as a tight end one at some point in the season. They do not have that currently on the roster. The best-case scenario here is the Chargers have one of the better tight end duos for years to come.
Worst case is Henry misses a large chunk of the season due to injury and the team lets him walk after 2020. If the latter happens, they could draft a tight end in 2021 with a loaded draft class and let that player learn behind Rudolph for a year.
Because the Vikings are getting the younger, more talented player the Chargers could probably even get a mid-round draft pick out of this scenario too. If they could get Rudolph and say a fourth-round pick for King, I’d call that a win.