Vikings, Rudolph agree to extension

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Oct 7, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) reacts after a field goal in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) reacts after a field goal in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

A Vikings lifer will remain as such. Tight end Kyle Rudolph announced via Twitter last night that he and Minnesota have agreed to an extension through 2023. Furthermore, he stated that he plans for Minnesota to remain his home, possibly implying his intention to retire as a Viking.

Rudolph had been the subject of trade speculation, most notably with New England and Jacksonville. Given the Vikings’ sudden glut of young tight ends and their tenuous cap situation, some surmised a Rudolph trade could open up both opportunities and money flexibility. Alas, Minnesota chose to stick with the veteran tight end for the long haul.

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As far as money goes, details are still not totally clear. Adam Schefter tweeted that Rudolph’s extension is worth $36 million over four years, but we have yet to learn how the extension affects the 2019 cap. Prior to the extension, Minnesota had just over $600,000 in cap space, so it is a safe bet that Rudolph’s new deal will restructure his earnings for this year. He was set to make $7.625 million in 2019 before Monday’s news.  

As for on-field ramifications, Rudolph staying on board sets the table for a lot of two-tight end sets this year. Minnesota has featured those fairly heavily the last few years as is, but with the added pass-catching threat of rookie Irv Smith as well as the relative insufficiencies down the wide receiver depth chart, expect a lot of 12 personnel this year. 

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A 2011 second-round pick, Rudolph has amassed some of the best tight end numbers in franchise history. While he has never truly featured among the elite of elite tight ends, Rudolph has undeniably been a solid target for the duration of his eight-year Minnesota career. He has at the very least been a reliable safety net and solid red zone threat, and at times, he has taken over games, e.g. week 16 in Detroit last season. Plus, Rudolph’s three most recent seasons are arguably the best of his career, so he should continue to play a vital role in the Vikings’ offense. 

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–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.

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