The Minnesota Vikings confirmed on Tuesday that they’ve released two-time Pro Bowl tight end and 10-year NFL and club veteran Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph also addressed the transaction via a piece published by The Players’ Tribune.
According to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Rudolph would’ve counted $9.45 million against the salary cap for the 2021 season under his contract that had three years remaining. His base salary was $7.65 million, and the Vikings save $5 million in cap space by parting ways with him.
Rudolph, 31, ended his final season with the Vikings on injured reserve because of a foot problem that cost him four consecutive games. Over 12 games, he recorded 28 receptions for 334 yards and a single touchdown. While he made Pro Bowl squads in 2012 and 2017, his overall production declined in each of the past two seasons.
As is the case most years, the 2021 NFL Draft class is filled with potential replacements for an aging tight end not worth the money at a time when the salary cap will likely dip because of financial losses suffered during the 2020 season held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota could also look to trade for a proven commodity such as David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns or New York Giants tight end and former first-round pick Evan Engram.