Breaking down Kyle Rudolph’s new deal with the Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to a four-year contract extension with Kyle Rudolph, but as always the details are telling.

After trade rumors and apparent consternation about a contract extension, the Minnesota Vikings and tight end Kyle Rudolph have agreed to terms on a reported four-year, $36 million contract extension.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, per a league source, Rudolph will get $9.25 million fully guaranteed with a total guarantee of $16.25 million. A $7.375 million base salary for 2020 is guaranteed for injury. Beyond that, there is no guaranteed money in the deal.

The new money value of Rudolph’s deal is $9 million over one year–nothing more and nothing less. Over the three years beyond 2020, via Pro Football Talk, the new money averages will be $8.5 million (through 2021), $8.6 million (through 2022) or $9 million (through 2023).

The Vikings had just $611,000 in salary cap space before the Rudolph deal was announced. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the team will clear $4 million in cap space for this year.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport passed along slightly different details, in terms of guaranteed money amount, but it’s not a dramatic difference.

Entering his age-30 season, Rudolph has not missed a game since 2014 and has been a productive player despite dropping below 10 yards per catch in each of the last two years. He had 64 receptions (on 82 targets, good for a 78 percent catch rate) for 634 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. In an offense influenced by new offensive assistant Gary Kubiak, Rudolph could easily rebound back toward his touchdown totals from 2016 (seven) and 2017 (eight).

The Vikings have given Rudolph an additional guaranteed year, if only completely for injury, in exchange for a bit of cap flexibility this year. He will turn 34 during the 2023 season, so it’s virtually certain he won’t see that and the two years before that look no better than a coin-flip proposition. Once again, the Vikings seem to have won a contract negotiation while also pacifying Rudolph and/or his agent.

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