Pro Bowler Kyle Rudolph doesn't sound completely confident he'll be playing for the Vikings in 2019
Kyle Rudolph might not be playing for the Vikings in 2019
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has basically spent his entire offseason in football purgatory. Although Rudolph is currently a member of the Vikings, he doesn't seem to have any idea if he'll actually be playing for them in 2019.
With Rudolph set to count roughly $7.6 million against the salary cap this year, there's been a lot of speculation that the Vikings might look to cut or. For Minnesota, the math is pretty simple: If Rudolph is still on the roster once the Vikings get their 2019 draft picks under contract, they'll only be left with about $800,000 in salary cap space. On the other hand, if they cut or trade him, they'll have some breathing room under the cap with more than $8 million available.
The two sides had been working on a possible extension thatfor the upcoming season, but those talks fell apart on Friday. As things currently stand, Rudolph's contract situation in Minnesota is so tenuous that no one seems to know if he'll be sticking around.
"We're in a tough situation as a team, you can't keep everybody, you can't pay everybody," Rudolph said.
The Vikings have tried to pay everybody -- they've given big contracts to Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen over the past 12 months -- but it appears that Rudolph might end up being the odd guy out.
Although talks cut off last week, the two-time Pro Bowler is hoping that his camp can still work something out with the Vikings.
"I certainly hope so," Rudolph said. "This is where we want to be. This is where I want to finish my career, this is where I started my career."
One thing that's also important to Rudolph, besides finishing his career in Minnesota, is putting all of this contract drama behind him. The tight end wouldn't put a deadline on when he wants the talks to be wrapped up, but you can tell he definitely doesn't want them dragging on.
"I don't want to be dealing with this come OTAs, minicamp, training camp, so the sooner the better and I think that's for both parties," Rudolph said. "I think the Vikings want clarity. I think we want clarity."
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was asked about the Rudolph situation on Monday and he was just as vague about his tight end's future. On one hand, Zimmer wants to keep Rudolph, but the Vikings coach also acknowledged that keeping Rudolph might not be economically possible.
"I've had conversations with Kyle and quite honestly I really love all my players," Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "We expect Kyle to be here, but sometimes business gets in the way."
If business does get in the way and Rudolph gets shipped somewhere else, it seems that the tight end, who has spent his entire eight-year career in Minnesota, is starting to mentally prepare himself for that possibility.
"I've stated it many times: My family, myself, we want to be here, and we're going to do everything we can to be here," Rudolph said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "But that doesn't mean if the alternative happens, and we do get traded, change happens. We've been so fortunate to be in one place for eight years that you don't really realize how many guys change teams on a yearly basis."
If you're wondering where Rudolph might end up if he gets dealt, I wrote an article last week that gave the break down on seven trades that need to happen this offseason and Rudolph was at the top of the list. To see where I sent him, you'll have to click here.
If that's not enough for you, our Sean Wagner-McGough went into more details on Rudolph and made a list of the six best potential landing spots for the tight end if the Vikings decide to trade him. You can read that article by clicking here.
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