Vikings Listening to Trade Talks About Kyle Rudolph, Pat Elflein, Tajae Sharpe

Will Ragatz

The Vikings traded Yannick Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, but they might not be done moving players prior to the November 3rd trade deadline. Even though they won't admit it, trading players away and entering a bit of a rebuilding period feels like the necessary next step for this franchise.

Sports Illustrated's NFL insider Albert Breer reported some interesting notes about the Vikings in his weekly GamePlan column.

"The Vikings are sellers—but they’re not holding a fire sale, per se," Breer wrote. "They’ve let teams know they’ll listen on anyone, which is how Thursday’s Yannick Ngakoue deal came about. They’re open for business on guys in contract years, and teams have asked on veteran TE Kyle Rudolph (who isn’t in a contract year) as well. Pat Elflein, a 2017 third-round pick who has been a disappointment, could be another name to watch, with lots of teams hungry for O-line help. And Tajae Sharpe is one more name that I’ve heard out there."

That's an intriguing trio of names. Rudolph is one of the Vikings' big pieces who makes sense as a trade chip, considering his lack of utilization in the offense and his fairly expensive contract. The Patriots make sense as a potential destination for the veteran tight end, given their lack of talent at the position and status as contenders in the AFC. The other two big names to watch on the trade market are Riley Reiff and Anthony Harris.

But not every trade needs to be a major one, and that's where players like Elflein and Sharpe come in. If Elflein is healthy, he could be sent to a team looking for interior offensive line help. Sharpe hasn't been playing at all with the Vikings and could potentially find a new home where he'll have a shot to see the field. Rick Spielman would presumably only be able to get a late-round pick for each guy, but it could be worth it to clear a bit of cap space.

Breer's other note on the Vikings has to do with their financial situation over the next couple years.

"One thing that should be mentioned, too, is that the Vikings are over $180 million in cap commitments in both 2021 and ’22, which means they have to be tactful even with the guys they plan to keep. And there’s an element of that thinking in the Ngakoue deal. Danielle Hunter is making $14 million per year, so if Minnesota was to sign Ngakoue to a deal north of $20 million per (which is almost certainly what it would’ve taken to keep him), there’s a good chance Hunter, who is out for the rest of the season, by the way, would’ve been circling back to the team for a correction on his contract."

I wrote about Hunter and his contract situation here.

It's been a busy Thursday for the Vikings, and there will likely be more action coming over the next 12 days leading up to the deadline.

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