Kyle Rudolph’s future uncertain as Vikings take TE Irv Smith Jr. in second round
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With tight end Kyle Rudolph entering the final year of his contract, his longterm future has become murky.
With the No. 50 selection in the second round of the NFL draft, Minnesota on Friday night took Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr.
Rudolph will make $7.625 million in 2019. He said last week he would like to sign an extension, but that the Vikings have not offered one.
Smith caught 44 passes last season for 710 yards. He is the son of former NFL tight end Irv Smith Sr.
“I’m just so excited to have this opportunity,’’ Smith said. “I’m blessed that the Vikings believed in me.’’
Smith has plenty of confidence in his ability to create mismatches.”
I believe no linebacker or safety one on one can stay with me, and I’m going to keep proving to people that’s how I feel,’’ he said.
Vikings director of college scouting Jamal Stephenson said Smith is “OK” as a run blocker.
Smith agreed that is something he must improve.
“I definitely feel like I’m a work in progress,’’ he said.
Stephenson said Smith was one of the players the Vikings targeted entering the second round, and they figured there was a chance he would be available. Stephenson said the Vikings received some calls regarding potential trades, but were committed to selecting Smith.
“We believe Irv is a perfect fit for our new scheme offensively with what we want to do in terms of a mismatch guy,’’ Stephenson said. “He’s ... a guy who we can move around. We can line him up wide, we can line him up in tight, we can use him in the backfield. He has a lot of versatility.’’
Smith’s father was taken with the No. 20 in the first round of the 1993 NFL draft by New Orleans. He played seven seasons with the Saints, San Francisco and Cleveland and caught 183 passes for 1,788 yards.”
At first, he said you can either be a slow receiver or a fast tight end,’’ Smith said. “I went with being a fast tight end and it worked out. ... He’s helped me so much, honestly, just telling me some of the things to do and some of the things not to do, learning from his mistakes, just picking his brain.’’