The longtime Minnesota Vikings tight end has seen his numbers dip over the past two seasons, but he is still a big part of the franchise.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has been a staple for the the team’s offense since he was drafted in 2011.
Over his eight-year career, the Notre Dame product has racked up 386 catches, 3,787 yards, and 41 touchdowns as an effective red zone target.
Rudolph has also had a strong impact off the field for the Vikings as well. The team nominated him for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in December thanks to his work at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and he has been one of the leaders in the locker room.
Based on those characteristics, it would seem like Rudolph is a slam dunk to retire as a member of the Vikings. However, in today’s NFL, few players get to end their career with the team that drafted them.
As Minnesota looks to do some salary cap management this offseason, Rudolph’s name should be high on the list to either get a restructured deal or a contract extension. While these options seem like the obvious avenue to take, the Vikings may decide that the 29-year-old’s best days are behind him and the team might opt to find a more athletic replacement for him in 2019.
Either keeping Rudolph or not will be a key decision for Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman this offseason as he looks to extend and restructure some of the deals for a few of the team’s key players on their roster.
The question here is, will the Vikings veteran tight end be deemed one of those players worth keeping around?