Vikings keep big piece of puzzle by extending Rudolph

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2014 - 6:07 AM

– Kyle Rudolph knew something was up when General Manager Rick Spielman motioned for him to come over as Vikings players trickled off the field after Sunday’s practice.

He realized it was good news when Spielman shook his hand and pulled him in for a quick hug.

The Vikings were giving Rudolph a lucrative extension that made him one of the league’s highest-paid tight ends and kept him under contract until 2019.

“It’s a dream come true, to walk off the practice field and have Rick [call me over] and give me a big hug and say, ‘Congratulations. You earned it. We’re extremely happy to have you here for the next six years,’ ” Rudolph said. “Right there I couldn’t thank him enough. Publicly, I can’t thank him, the Wilf family, everyone involved to keep me here for the next six years enough.”

The new contract is an extension worth $36.5 million over five seasons. Rudolph, who will make $960,000 this year, got a $6.5 million signing bonus, and $19.4 million of the deal is guaranteed.

With 15 touchdowns, a Pro Bowl honor in 2012 and a shiny trophy for being named the MVP of that all-star game, Rudolph already has accomplished a lot in his first three NFL seasons. But both he and the Vikings expect much bigger things from Rudolph, especially with the tight end-friendly Norv Turner calling the plays, in 2014 and beyond.

“He’s a heck of a football player, but he’s a pleaser,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He wants to buy into everything we’re doing. I think he really likes the direction of where things are going. And I like having those kind of guys on the team. I’m anticipating that he will continue to flourish, especially with Norv and [tight ends coach] Kevin Stefanski pushing him and getting him better.”

Rudolph, 24, is excited to play for Turner, who has turned talented tight ends into stars at pretty much every stop during his 30-year NFL coaching career, as Rudolph pointed out Monday. Tight ends such as Jay Novacek and Antonio Gates had some of their most productive seasons while playing for Turner, and Browns tight end Jordan Cameron had a breakout season a year ago when Turner was his offensive coordinator.

Nothing fancy

Rudolph caught 109 passes for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns his first three NFL seasons, including nine touchdowns during his 2012 Pro Bowl season.

He missed the final eight games of the 2013 season because of a fractured left foot and finished with only 30 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns.

But the Vikings see him as a player on the rise — and he likes the direction the organization is headed in, too.

“It’s awesome to know that I’ll be here for the next six years,” Rudolph said. “The direction that this organization is headed, with the changes that we’ve made so far, with the new coaching staff, the young players, the new stadium, the Super Bowl coming here in 2018. There’s so many positive things going on right now around here.”

For now, Rudolph said he has no plans to splurge on himself. No new house. No new truck. He’s fine with the ones he has. Instead, the first thing he plans to do is keep a promise to his high school strength coach by building a new weight room at Elder High in Cincinnati.

“We’re happy to have him. I’m happy for him,” Zimmer said. “He’s a good guy, and I like when good guys get rewarded.”

Looking ahead

Rudolph, who was in the final year of his rookie contract, said negotiations with the Vikings started to pick up a couple of weeks ago. His agent, Brian Murphy, flew into the Twin Cities the day of the MLB All-Star Game and over the next two days started to build the framework of the deal with Spielman and Rob Brzezinski, the team’s vice president of football operations.

Joel Corry, a former agent who analyzes the business of the NFL for CBS Sports, said that Rudolph’s $36.5 million extension is similar to the one defensive end Everson Griffen received in that the Vikings are paying more for what they feel the players will do going forward, not their past performance.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 51 3rd Qtr
Golden State 56
Washington 46 3rd Qtr
LA Lakers 57
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 1 3rd Prd 11:07
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 2 3rd Prd
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 51 2nd Half 4:47
Nevada 52
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 28 1st Half 3:55
Boise State 28
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60


question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters