Kyle Rudolph says he’s still in his prime

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There were legitimate questions this offseason about whether Kyle Rudolph was going to be a part of the Vikings’ future.

But not only is the veteran tight end still there, he declared himself to be in his prime.

According to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Rudolph sent a message with his wardrobe, walking into the offseason program wearing a sweatshirt which read “Lots of game left.”

“When you’ve played a lot of football in this league and your name’s been around a long time, everyone just assumes you’re in your mid-30s and on your way out,” Rudolph said. “That’s not the case with me. I feel like I’m just now starting to get into the prime of my career. I was at the Masters this weekend, so I’ll use a golf analogy: I feel like I haven’t hit the back nine yet. I still feel like I have a lot of football left and, as the sweatshirt said, a lot of game left.”

Rudolph turns 30 this season, and is entering the final year of his contract. While his $7.625 million cap number created reasonable suspicion about his future, there has been no word from the team on a restructured deal or an extension in the works.

“I would love to help our cap situation,” Rudolph said. “But that’s out of my control. That’s between Rick [Spielman], Rob [Brzezinski] and my agent.”

“I’m just trying to find out where I fit in.”

He’s still one of the most productive players at his position, and hasn’t missed a game since 2014. Coupled with new play-caller Gary Kubiak coming on board, he could be hitting his prime at just the right time.

37 responses to “Kyle Rudolph says he’s still in his prime

  1. Damn, you just gave away one of my sleeper picks for my fantasy football draft. I think he’s going to have a great year. Especially with Kubiak on board..

  2. He is an above average TE who does get a lot of TD’s comparably but his problem is Y.A.C. or lack there of. He goes down at the slightest touch. Especially to his feet. He’s either clumsy or has just trained himself to catch the ball and at first contact, no matter how insignificant, fall to the ground. He could be so much better if he just learns to catch & also run with the ball.

  3. whatjusthapped says:
    April 18, 2019 at 8:47 am
    Next year, he’ll fall victim to the Cousins contract. You can’t pay everybody and unfortunately, the Vikings paid the wrong guy.

    Yah, just the slew of other stars we’ve resigned since Kirk got his contract. Keep hoping that the Vikes can’t afford to resign their studs, because all evidence would be to the contrary.

  4. Rudolph never had a prime. He never developed into a vertical threat, he showed it during one pro bowl when nobody was getting hit. Otherwise he’s mostly a nice blocker and red zone threat.

  5. I think the Vikings are waiting to see what they get in the draft before approaching Rudolph about an extension. If they pick a tight end early, they might be happy to let Kyle play out his contract and move on. If not, they’ll probably work out an extension and lower his cap hit. Personally, I’d like to see both happen. Two good pass-catching tight ends can really put a lot of stress on a defense.

  6. whatjusthapped says:
    April 18, 2019 at 8:47 am
    Next year, he’ll fall victim to the Cousins contract. You can’t pay everybody and unfortunately, the Vikings paid the wrong guy.
    ###

    Just for reference, Cousins cap number for 2020 is $31 mil. Meanwhile, Rodgers cap number is $32.6 mil.

    So far, on their respective contracts, Cousins has produced 2 more wins than Rodgers and has been paid less.

    Who paid the wrong guy?

  7. He is an above average TE who does get a lot of TD’s comparably but his problem is Y.A.C. or lack there of. He goes down at the slightest touch. Especially to his feet. He’s either clumsy or has just trained himself to catch the ball and at first contact, no matter how insignificant, fall to the ground. He could be so much better if he just learns to catch & also run with the ball.
    ***********
    I agree with all of this, but it makes me think of Gronk. Gronk fought for every inch and never went down without a fight. Very admirable and I LOVE that about him. Gronks style of play came with a ton of injuries and led to a short career. I certainly don’t prefer Rudolph’s style of play, but I can understand why he (and many others) try to protect themselves by going down with contact.

  8. TE has become the most injury-prone position b/c of the hits over the middle these guys are exposed to. Gronk, Rudolph, Eifert to name a few have all been All-Pro players w/ continuous nagging-to-serious injuries. They definitely earn their money. Gronk is smart to get out while he can. Their quality of life (physically) is going to suck.

  9. In all honesty, the guy never really had a prime since he’s never had much speed. The difference is now that his route running is more refined and he’s learned to block better. He’s still effective, a good team leader and has been healthy the last 2 seasons, but is just not at a pro bowl level. If he wants to stay in MN after this year he will probably have to restructure and take less as he hits his 30s. Hope he does.

  10. gtodriver says:
    April 18, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Who paid the wrong guy?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Vikings. Thanks for asking.

  11. gtodriver says:
    April 18, 2019 at 10:47 am
    whatjusthapped says:
    April 18, 2019 at 8:47 am
    Next year, he’ll fall victim to the Cousins contract. You can’t pay everybody and unfortunately, the Vikings paid the wrong guy.
    ###
    Just for reference, Cousins cap number for 2020 is $31 mil. Meanwhile, Rodgers cap number is $32.6 mil.
    So far, on their respective contracts, Cousins has produced 2 more wins than Rodgers and has been paid less.
    Who paid the wrong guy?
    ===============================================================================
    Really? With throwing to Thielen and Diggs and Rudolph, Dalvin Cook in the backfield and with that great defense supporting him, Cousins has only led the Vikings to 2 more wins than Rodgers?

  12. If Zimmer let’s Kubiak run the show they might get half their money’s worth out of Cousins.

  13. stellarperformance says:
    April 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm
    gtodriver says:
    April 18, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Who paid the wrong guy?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Vikings. Thanks for asking.
    ###

    Head firmly implanted in the sand…

    The Packers paid Rodgers in excess of $13 million per win in the first 12 months of his contract.

    The Vikings got a steal – only $3 million per win.

    Older, slower and injury prone – that is your Aaron Rodgers.

  14. frank booth says:

    Cousins has only led the Vikings to 2 more wins than Rodgers?
    ###

    Yes, he led them to two more victories.

    Rodgers is supposed to be all world, carries the whole Packer’s team on his back and is supposed to be Superman according to you and all your Packer buddies.

    Cousins is supposed to be a bum, yet he delivered 25% more wins.

    I’m amazed that even you can’t understand that…

  15. Nice guy, great for a quote for local reporter after a game but never plays angry.
    Could dominate if he played with a chip on his shoulder, oh well… Cut him or greatly reduce his salary. Not worth 7 mil.

  16. I think Rudolph is still a threat on the football field. I don’t think the Vikings have used him enough.
    Other teams have figured out that TE position can get more yards easier than throwing to WR. I hope the Vikings new offense starts using the backs and TE more. Diggs and Thielen will always be there.

  17. red says:
    April 18, 2019 at 8:27 am

    I’d trust Rudolph with any QB other than Kirk “I want it all” Cousins.////

    Good point Cousins next contract, if the Vikings want to sign him, needs to be a more team friendly contract. Kirk isn’t the only “I want it all” guy -i.e. Brees, Rodgers but he definitely is one.

  18. gtodriver says:
    April 18, 2019 at 4:28 pm
    frank booth says:
    Cousins has only led the Vikings to 2 more wins than Rodgers?
    ###
    Yes, he led them to two more victories.
    Rodgers is supposed to be all world, carries the whole Packer’s team on his back and is supposed to be Superman according to you and all your Packer buddies.
    Cousins is supposed to be a bum, yet he delivered 25% more wins.
    I’m amazed that even you can’t understand that…
    ================================================================================
    Cousins came to a team that was 13-3 the year before and a game away from the Super Bowl with essentially the same roster as the year before as well as, according to Vikings’ fans, the best head coach in the league- and dropped to 8-7-1 and out of the playoffs.

    Rodgers doesn’t have nearly the same supporting cast as Cousins and he does have to carry that team on his back- that’s pretty obvious to even the most simple-minded fan. I know that you like to have fun and twist words and the truth, but even with your limitations, you’re smart enough to realize that if Rodgers was put in Cousins’ place, the Vikings would be better off.

    Cousins is hardly a bum, but he hasn’t proven that he can win big games. The last game of the season was there for the taking from the Bears in order to get into the playoffs, and Cousins fell on his face. The great Mike Zimmer is to blame here as well. He gets the QB he wants in free agency, and takes his team from 13-3 to 8-7-1.

  19. frank booth says:
    April 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm
    The great Mike Zimmer is to blame here as well. He gets the QB he wants in free agency, and takes his team from 13-3 to 8-7-1.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    goatherder……you enjoy saying “let that sink in.” Well, let that sink in.

  20. frank and cellar

    In an off year, the Vikings were still 2 games better than the Packers and weren’t eliminated from the playoff until week 17 and finished in 2nd place.

    The Bears were relevant for the first time in since 2013 – they owned last place in the NFC North from 2014 – 2017.

  21. If I remember correctly I think Rudolph hinted he’d be willing to rework his contract to free up some money. I think he’d like to finish his career here so that would be a plus if they need to free some money up. I think Rudolph is a pretty good tight end who can block. I think the biggest issue with Kyle is foot speed. He makes the catches but doesn’t pick up a lot of yards after the catch. We could use a speedy tight end who can create mismatches with safety’s and linebackers. I’m writing last year off as a fluke and I don’t see any reason we can’t win it all this year.

  22. gtodriver-

    And the Hindenburg was a minor ballooning accident.

    It wasn’t an off-year for the Vikings. It was a failure that rests primarily on Zimmer’s shoulders after going 13-3 the year before. After listening to Vikings’ fans chirp of how the Vikings were going to rule the division and go to the Super Bowl for a variety of reasons, including Zimmer’s leadership. Because the Vikings’ are “world class”.

    Right now, 13-3 with a playoff win sandwiched between 8-8 and 8-7-1 seasons is the outlier for the Zimmer-led Vikings, who’s management just did an end-run around him in adding Kubiak and Junior and company.

    Say all you want about the Bears. You’ll hear very few Bears’ fans proclaiming them as the best or Nagy as the best coach ever. I doubt that they will finish with 12 wins this year but they will be a lot of fun to watch.

  23. gtodriver says:
    April 19, 2019 at 9:15 pm
    frank and cellar

    In an off year, the Vikings were still 2 games better than the Packers and weren’t eliminated from the playoff until week 17 and finished in 2nd place.

    The Bears were relevant for the first time in since 2013 – they owned last place in the NFC North from 2014 – 2017.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    What’s that got to do with Zimmer coaching the Vikings into the ground?

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