The close end of the Vikings Kyle Rudolph was released on Monday after 10 years on the team.
The Vikings announced the release of longtime starting player Kyle Rudolph, 31, who will enter season 11 for the first time in his career as a free agent on Tuesday.
« From the moment when we designed Kyle as a young man from Notre Dame in 2011, up until his 10th season with the Vikings in 2020, he was one of the major bottlenecks in the NFL and the most influential and positive leader I’ve ever had, » General Manager Rick Spielman said in a team press release. “Kyle and Jordan have made such an immeasurable impact on our team and our community that it may never be reached. The energy they have put into the community, especially through the end zone of the University of Minnesota Children’s Masonic Hospital, is truly remarkable. I admire Kyle and we will miss him and his family. We wish you all the best from the bottom of our hearts. “
The decision to cut Rudolph was inevitable. Minnesota needs to make way in an unprecedented year where the 2021 salary cap is expected to fall after steady growth. However, the exact number has yet to be determined by the NFL. The release of Rudolph will free about $ 5 million in cap space, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune.
« Kyle was a leader and mentor to us from the first day I arrived in Minnesota and next to the field. He’s been such an important part of that team and community throughout his career and it’s been an honor to coach him for the past seven seasons, « coach Mike Zimmer said in the press release. “He will be missed and we wish him and his family all the best.”
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After seeing a diminishing role on the Viking Offensive for the past two seasons, Rudolph made his own Claim claims his underproduction was more due to what was asked of him rather than age-related physical decline.
He had the second highest base narrow end salary in the league, despite being with the last season Receiving finished in 36th place.
Rudolph said he believed he was « worth every penny » of his contract as he became a viable run blocker after being placed in the role.
Im « Unreservedly with Ben Leber » podcast, Rudolph broke down as his role on the team changed this off-season:
I think I’m worth every penny of my contract. That doesn’t mean that I’m used to my potential and used to doing what I’m good at. So it will be interesting in the next few months. As I said, I still have three years on my contract. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I kind of became a pretty decent blocker for being forced to. It was certainly not something I ever did well at any point in my career – maybe in high school because I was just bigger than everyone else – but even then, I just wanted to run around catching balls.
To The writing on the wall started last season. I saw where our offense was leading. I had seven or eight catches in the first six games. It was just absurd. I literally blocked the whole time. Obviously you will block as a close end in the game in progress. I always had to work on that. It’s not easy for me, but it has always been important to me to have a completely tight end and not someone to stretch out far or lay on the back of the formation or do an RPO diagonal pull. I’ve always prided myself on not being one of those guys.
Like I said, you go back to the beginning of last season and I’m like, « Okay, I have an [option] or two here. I really can either get good at the only thing I’m supposed to do or I can complain about it and cause a scene to have a seizure. But what is going to be more productive for our team and this organization? » both seasons led by Rudolph and now takes over the reins as the true number 1 of the team at the close end. Tyler Conklin, who came on as a substitute at the end of last season, is ready to take over in two tight final sets.
Rudolph leaves the Vikings as the absolute leader in touchdowns as a close end (47) and holds the record with 83 receptions in 2016 for one-season receptions for tight ends.
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