Former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said he was looking for more opportunities in the passing game, and that search led him to the New York Giants, where he agreed to a two-year deal on Thursday, according to his agency.
Rudolph had been the Vikings' longest-tenured player before his release this month. He can earn up to $14 million on his new deal in New York, where he joins Giants running back Saquon Barkley, quarterback Daniel Jones and tight end Evan Engram. Rudolph gets $4.5 million guaranteed via a signing bonus.
He'll look to turn around New York's fortunes after last year's 31st-ranked offense lost Barkley in the second game to a torn ACL and saw Jones, the young passer, struggle. The Giants have also added receiver John Ross, running back Devontae Booker, and former Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo in free agency this month.
Rudolph, entering his 11th NFL season, was the most reliable set of hands for most of his decade in the Vikings offense. After overcoming early injury hurdles as a 2011 second-round pick, the Pro Bowler started 93 consecutive regular season games before suffering a Lisfranc injury during the December overtime win against the Jaguars.
The Vikings cut Rudolph, who was opposed to a restructured deal to return to a blocking role, to save about $5 million in cap space. He leaves Minnesota with 453 catches and a franchise-leading 48 touchdowns for a tight end. The team now has Irv Smith Jr., Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon and Hale Hentges at the position.
"I have a lot of good football still to play," Rudolph said in a Players Tribune article after his release from the Vikings, "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. But it's still just football. Minnesota, on the other hand, it's so much bigger than that. It's where our future is. It's where our heart is. It's home. Thanks again, Vikings fans, for everything. We'll see you around."