Coach Mike Zimmer addressed Rudolph’s tenuous status on Monday, with a message that didn’t start in ominous fashion but ended up there.
“I’ve had conversations with Kyle and quite honestly I really love all my players,” Zimmer said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We expect Kyle to be here but sometimes business gets in the way.”
The business as to Rudolph comes in the form of a $7.275 million base salary. In contrast, second-round rookie tight end Irv Smith will earn $5.798 million — over full four years.
From the day after the Vikings drafted Smith, rumors have circulated that Rudolph is available in trade. The Vikings may have no choice but to release Rudolph.