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Kyle Rudolph Stays Home; Signs Extension

By: AJ Condon
June 11, 2019

While most people were watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals late Monday night, the Minnesota Vikings were able to keep Minnesotan-loving Kyle Rudolph with the team for four more years.

Contract Details

The Vikings and Rudolph have been in contract talks this whole offseason as well as some rumors of being traded. The Vikings draft selection didn't help those rumors simmer out either, when they selected Irv Smith Jr., tight end out of Alabama, with the 50th pick in this years draft.

All those rumors were put to rest late Monday night when Rudolph posted a very meaningful post about how much Minnesota meant to him with the caption "#UnfinishedBusiness #Skol" with this screenshot.

That was quickly followed by multiple reports of Rudolph and the Vikings coming to terms. Later that night, the details came out for the deal, four years, $36 million. This puts Rudolph as the fourth highest paid tight end in terms of average per year behind Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, and Jordan Reed.

Rudolph's cap hit for this season is $3.55 million and the future four-year breakdown will come out soon. Multiple reports reported that this deal actually freed up $4 million in cap space for this season.

Looking Forward

With Rudolph being locked up until 2023, the Vikings have many weapons that fans should be excited for. Kirk Cousins behind center with Dalvin Cook in the backfield, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs out wide, and Smith Jr. and Rudolph running a two-tight end set.

I will bring back this stat of Kirk Cousins while in Washington when he was working with a two-tight end set. Cousins has been the best quarterback from 2015-2017 when working with two tight ends. Given his two tight ends were Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, Rudolph and Smith Jr. aren't as dangerous as those two were, but don't be surprised if we see the tight ends being used more these next couple of years than Vikings' fans are used to.
The two-time Pro Bowler will turn 30-years-old later this season, but he has been one of the most reliable tight ends in the league and for the Vikings. He has played in all 16 games in the last four seasons, and had his career year in 2016. He has averaged 625 yards and six touchdowns over those years.

Last season Rudolph was targeted 82 times, which was 13.5% of Cousins attempts and had his highest catch percentage catching 78 percent of balls that came his way. He also has only fumbled the ball once in his career.

It isn't just his strong hands that impress me, his red zone presence is very reliable. In the past two seasons, Rudolph has hauled in 71 percent of his targets and reeled in ten touchdowns inside the 20. In the past two seasons he has also been responsible for 20.8 percent and 25.8 percent, respectively, for his teams' targets in the red zone.

This is probably the last offseason move for the Vikings, but caps off a busy one. The Vikings resigned Anthony Barr, restructured Everson Griffen, and signed Thielen to a long-term deal.