Minnesota Vikings announce that they've released TE Kyle Rudolph
Tight end Kyle Rudolph has been a part of the Minnesota Vikings for the past decade. On Tuesday, Minnesota marked the likely conclusion of that era: The team announced that it has released Rudolph.
The Vikings tight end still could re-sign with the team for a cheaper contract, but that seems unlikely, given Minnesota's cap situation, the tight ends the team has waiting in the wings and what Rudolph has said publicly this offseason.
Rudolph -- a two-time Pro Bowl selection -- had 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns receiving in his 10 seasons with the Vikings. Arguably his most notable NFL play came against the New Orleans Saints in the 2019 NFC wild-card playoff game, when he secured the game-winning score in overtime.
"My career is my career, and I’m really excited about whatever is around the corner," Rudolph wrote in The Players' Tribune. I" think I have a lot of good football still to play — and the fire inside of me to win a Super Bowl is burning as strong as ever. That’s the one big goal I have left."
The 31-year-old Rudolph was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in the 2011 NFL draft. He played 140 games for the Vikings, starting 132.
"Kyle has been a leader and mentor for us on and off the field from the first day I arrived in Minnesota," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said in a statement. "He has been such an important part of this team and community throughout his career and it has been an honor to coach him the last seven seasons. He will be missed, and we wish him and his family nothing but the best."
Expect Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin to be the main options at tight end for the Vikings in 2021. The team can also add bargain free-agency signings and rookies at that position for depth.