MINNEAPOLIS — After months of uncertainty surrounding the status of his contract for the upcoming season, veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph gained some clarity on Monday evening.
A league source told ESPN that Rudolph agreed to terms of a contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings and will sign his new deal on Tuesday morning, the same day the Vikings begin their three-day, mandatory minicamp. Rudolph’s new deal is worth $36 million over four years, which could keep him in Minnesota through the 2023 season, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Rudolph relayed the news in a heartfelt message on Twitter in which he reflected upon the major events that have occurred in his life both in and out of football since he was selected 43rd overall in the 2011 draft by Minnesota, where he has spent his entire career to date. The ninth-year tight end married his wife, Jordan, had three children and has been an active member in the Twin Cities community through his philanthropic work with the establishment of Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
Rudolph’s new deal is expected to lower his cap hit of $7.625 million, which would help the Vikings with their current salary-cap situation. Minnesota, according to data in ESPN’s roster-management system, had less than $1.3 million in cap space prior to negotiating the terms of Rudolph’s new deal.
Earlier this spring, the Vikings drafted Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. with the 50th overall pick. Throughout the offseason program, coaches have relayed the importance of the roles both tight ends will play in Minnesota’s offense. Rudolph, too, has acknowledged how he expects the regular usage of multiple tight end sets will benefit the Vikings’ offense in 2019.
“It’s exciting,” Rudolph said. “It’s something, an element, that we’ve never had here in my nine years being here. It forces defenses to play with three linebackers, and that allows us to control the game, when we go out there in three-wide sets. People always talk about creating mismatches — well, now they have five DBs on the field, and yeah, there’s still mismatches, there’s size mismatches, but now we can kind of control and do things how we want to do them.”