7 bold predictions for the Minnesota Vikings 2021 offseason

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Rudolph /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

Minnesota will say goodbye to Rudolph

Since being selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Kyle Rudolph has had a tremendous career with the Vikings, ranking fifth in franchise history in receptions and receiving touchdowns and 10th in receiving yards. As is the case with many great players, their time eventually runs out.

It seems like Minnesota has reached that point with Rudolph. In 2020, the 31-year-old Rudolph posted just 28 catches for 334 yards and one touchdown, plus he suffered a foot injury that forced an early end to his season. The total effort was one of his worst campaigns since his first year with the Vikings.

With Rudolph set to have a $9.45 million cap hit in 2021, the production just doesn’t match the cost for Minnesota to keep him around. Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin have both seemed capable of replacing Rudolph and with the Vikings looking for more explosiveness on offense, the veteran could be the odd man out.

There is a chance that Minnesota and Rudolph will agree on a restructure due to his status as a leader in the locker room and in the Twin Cities community. But it feels like the Vikings will close the book on one of the greatest tight ends in team history.