Vikings Ask Kyle Rudolph To Take Pay Cut?

The Vikings have virtually no salary cap space at the moment, with Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reporting that the club is expected to have just $5.24MM in room when free agency opens on Wednesday. Goessling takes a position-by-position look at some of the difficult decisions Minnesota will have to make in order to free up some cash, and one of the most notable names involved in his piece is tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Per Goessling, it is believed that the Vikings are in talks with Rudolph about taking a pay cut in 2019, the final year of his current contract. Rudolph is due a $7.275MM salary, and roster/workout bonuses would increase the club’s cash outlay and corresponding cap hit to $7.625MM. The Vikings could shed that entire figure from its books by cutting Rudolph and would absorb no dead money by doing so, but there is not much by way of proven talent behind Rudolph on the depth chart.

Rudolph has started all 16 regular season games for the Vikings in each of the past four seasons, but he will turn 30 in November and had offseason ankle surgery last year. He earned Pro Bowl nods in 2012 and 2017, and he has been a solid contributor and redzone threat throughout his career, but his raw statistics have never been particularly eye-popping (though he did have 840 receiving yards in 2016, from 132 targets). Nonetheless, his overall body of work and his recent run of durability suggest he could at least match his 2019 pay if he were to hit the open market — especially since blocking tight end Nick Boyle just earned a three-year pact paying him $6MM per year from the Ravens — so he may choose to refuse a pay cut. Either way, the Vikings will be in the market for a pass-catching tight end, either in free agency or the draft.

Goessling’s entire piece is worth a read, as it includes his thoughts on the Minnesota futures of other notables like Everson Griffen, Mike Remmers, and Laquon Treadwell.

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