On the second day of organized team activities, Rudolph confirmed a report from Pro Football Talk that the Vikings offered the Pro Bowl tight end a five-year extension. The report said the deal would give Rudolph “a new-money average among the highest paid tight ends in the league.”
The extension also is expected to lower Rudolph’s cap hit, which sits at $7.625 million for 2019. The Vikings currently have $1,255,486 in salary-cap space after signing first-round pick Garrett Bradbury last week and will eventually need to dip into that money to pay their practice squad.
“That’s what they’re working at,” Rudolph said. “We’re in a tough situation. Everybody knows that. That’s why we have the best salary-cap guy in the NFL and I believe I have one of the best agents. So, like I said, they’re working really hard.”
Rudolph is participating in the first week of OTAs, which are voluntary, despite uncertainty over his future in Minnesota. The ninth-year tight end has been present for all the team’s offseason workouts to date, something that he feels obligated to do as a veteran leader.
“I don’t know what kind of example it would set if I wanted to be here and I wasn’t here,” he said. “And that’s not the kind of person I am. If I was at home right now and everybody else was out here at practice, that would be really hard for me.
“I was on a plane yesterday from New York to get here. I could have easily skipped the optional practice but that’s not what a leader of this team does. These guys expect to see me out here each and every day and I’m going to do that.”
Last week Rudolph said he wanted his contract situation to be resolved “the sooner the better” for both himself and the Vikings. On Wednesday, the tight end said he did not believe that contract talks would linger into training camp.
Despite the uncertainty over his situation, Rudolph appeared optimistic that his representation and the Vikings are working to complete a deal in a timely manner. The tight end also said that, from what he was told, “plenty of other teams” have shown interest in his services. The Vikings would need to trade Rudolph or cut him in order for the tight end to play elsewhere in 2019.
Having confidence in his agent Brian Murphy, who also represents the Vikings’ Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen and Trae Waynes, and the organization that drafted him in 2011 allows Rudolph to feel secure amid a situation that has him in limbo.
“That’s part of this business,” he said. “It’s not a bad situation to be in. I get to come out every day in practice with my teammates. A bad situation would have been cut back in March and trying to find a job. I have a job, so that’s the good thing. I get to come out here each and every day and practice with my teammates and whatever happens, happens.”