MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings have released veteran Kyle Rudolph after 10 seasons, the team said on Tuesday.
The move will save Minnesota $ 5.1 million from the 2021 salary cap. Rudolph, 31, will become a free agent for the first time in his NFL career.
The Vikings ‘previous second round draft pick in 2011 heartily bid farewell to a story published by The Players’ Tribune that reflects on his 10 seasons in Minnesota.
“I was so lucky because – I wasn’t just drafted by a team that ‘had a need at the tight end’,” wrote Rudolph. 1 fixed end on the board. ‘I was drafted by a team that set everything in terms of needs … but then I was drafted anyway.
“I’ll always remember: How the Minnesota Vikings wanted me – and wanted to bet on my potential.”
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman issued a statement on Rudolph’s release, calling him “one of the major bottlenecks in the NFL and the most influential and positive leaders I have ever seen”.
“Kyle and [his wife] Jordan has had such an immeasurable impact on our team and our community that it may never be reached, “Spielman said.” The energy they have put into the community, especially through the end zone of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s 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. “
Rudolph had three years left on the deal, which he signed in June 2019 after the Vikings reached out to him to restructure his deal on an extension. He was at risk of becoming a cap victim this offseason, with a $ 9.45 million cap hit and a role that has diminished significantly on the Vikings offensive over the past two seasons.
Rudolph spoke earlier this off-season about his desire for a bigger role in Minnesota’s misdemeanor or elsewhere and said he would not be open to restructuring if the team approached him about a wage cut.
“I think I am worth every penny of my contract,” said Rudolph in January on the podcast “Unreservedly with Ben Leber”. “That doesn’t mean that I’m used to my potential and used to doing what I’m good at. It will be interesting in the next few months. As I said, I still have three years on my contract. I don’t want anywhere I kind of became a pretty decent blocker for being forced to. It was certainly not something I’ve ever done well at any point in my career. Maybe in high school because I was bigger than everyone else, but even then, I just wanted to run around and catch balls. “
Rudolph scored 28 passes across 35 goals in 2020, his lowest performance since the 2014 season. He scored 334 yards and a touchdown, the latter being a career slump for the former second-round player.
At 31, Rudolph said he felt he had “a lot of good football” and had the chance to play for his second NFL team.
Rudolph’s impact from the field was well documented during his time in Minnesota. The close collaboration with the Freemason Children’s Hospital resulted in him being named Walter Payton Man of the Year of the Vikings three times in a row from 2017-19.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins called Rudolph “the smartest player I’ll ever play with” in a tweet honoring his former teammate, who was also praised by coach Mike Zimmer.
“Kyle has been a leader and mentor to us on and off the field from the day I arrived in Minnesota,” said Zimmer. “He has been such an important part of this team and this community throughout his career and it has been an honor to coach him for the last seven seasons. We will miss him and we wish him and his family all the best.”