Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) warms up before the start of an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Could Kyle Rudolph return to the Vikings after one season with the New York Giants? SKOR North Scoopmaster Darren Wolfson told us a few weeks ago that the Buccaneers were interested in the veteran tight end and the Vikings were added to that list on Thursday. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported he has been told, “a reunion with the Vikings is not off the table.” The Vikings moved on from Rudolph after 10 years following the 2021 season and he spent last year with the Giants. A second-round pick by the Vikings out of Notre Dame in 2011, the 32-year-old Rudolph had 28 receptions for 334 yards and a touchdown in 12 games in his final season with the Vikings. Last year, Rudolph had 26 catches for 257 yards with one touchdown in 16 games (13 starts).
The Vikings’ depth chart at tight end already includes Irv Smith Jr. (returning from a season-ending knee injury), Ben Ellefson, Johnny Mundt, Zach Davidson and Nick Muse. So why would new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O’Connell want to bring back a Rick Spielman draft pick? The Vikings did lose Tyler Conklin, their top tight end from 2021, to the Jets in free agency, but Smith was having an outstanding training camp last year before tearing his meniscus in the preseason finale at Kansas City. Smith took part in the Vikings’ offseason camps and should provide the team with its top pass-catching threat at the position. That’s assuming his knee is fully recovered. If there is concern about Smith’s knee that could mean the Vikings are looking for another tight end who can catch the ball.
The Wild’s decision to retain goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract resulted in reports that goalie Cam Talbot wasn’t pleased about the situation. Talbot’s agent was quoted at the draft last week as saying Wild general manager Bill Guerin had a lot to think about when it came to what he wanted to do with Talbot. On Tuesday, Guerin decided the best thing would be to move on from Talbot. He traded him to Ottawa for goalie Filip Gustavsson. So Talbot was ecstatic, right? Nope. “I didn’t really want to be moved,” he told reporters. “It played out in the media that maybe I had some ill will toward the organization or something like that. It wasn’t like that at all.” Talbot had spent the past two seasons with the Wild and was entering the last season of a three-year, $11 million contract.
Talbot’s quote supported the report from Michael Russo of The Athletic that Talbot’s real goal was to get a contract extension that included a raise. Assuming that was the case, the Talbot camp severely miscalculated Guerin’s tolerance for a journeyman player trying to make sure he got his way. Guerin’s mission since arriving as the Wild GM in August 2019 has been to clean unhappy campers out of the locker room, not reward them with contract extensions. Memo to anyone who doesn’t get it: The days of players calling the shots at Xcel Energy Center are gone.
The Vikings’ Justin Jefferson was voted the fourth-best wide receiver in the NFL in a ESPN survey of more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players. The Raiders’ Davante Adams was first, followed by the Rams’ Cooper Kupp and the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase. Chase and Jefferson were college teammates at LSU.
A’s righthanded starter Frankie Montas (shoulder inflammation) will wait until after the All-Star break to make his next start, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Montas is expected to be one of the top starters available before the MLB trade deadline at 5 p.m. on Aug. 2 and the Twins are expected to be among the teams interested. Montas left his July 3 start because of shoulder discomfort but an MRI showed no structural damage. Assuming Montas is healthy, he will command a large return given he is under team control through 2023. Reds righthander Luis Castillo, also under team control through 2023, is another starter who intrigues the Twins but will come at a high price.
What would Montas or Castillo cost? It wouldn’t be surprising if the A’s or Reds wanted a package that began with hot-hitting rookie Jose Miranda, whose walk-off, three-run homer against Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday gave the Twins a 4-1 victory over Milwaukee at Target Field.
Will the Twins make a move at the deadline? That depends on whether president of baseball operations Derek Falvey thinks his team has a legitimate shot in the playoffs or is destined to win a bad division and will be quickly dispatched. One would think the Twins’ record 18-game playoff losing streak would create some pressure on the franchise to make the most of any opportunity in October.
Former Twins reliever Taylor Rogers, dealt to San Diego as the season opened, has cooled off after a hot start. Rogers was 0-2 with 17 saves and two blown saves with a 1.64 ERA and .149 batting average against in April and May. In June and July, he is 0-2 with seven saves, three blown saves, a 7.90 ERA and .339 batting average against. Entering Thursday, Rogers was 0-4 with 24 saves and five blown saves and a 4.04 ERA in 36 games. Reliever Emilio Pagan, acquired by the Twins along with out-for-the-season starter Chris Paddack from the Padres, was 3-3 with nine saves, five blown saves and four holds in 18 games.