Kyle Rudolph Released by Vikings After 10 Seasons with Team

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 2, 2021

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph runs up field after catching a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings have released veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Rudolph addressed the report soon after, sharing an article he wrote in The Players' Tribune

Kyle Rudolph @KyleRudolph82

Thank you Minnesota!! Although my time as a Viking has come to a close, my time as a MINNESOTAN is just getting started! https://t.co/eb2aP3O4vo

"So while I understand that a lot of the news today is going to focus on me and the team parting ways, I’d personally rather focus on the flip side of that: the fact that me and the Vikings stayed together for 10 whole seasons….. an insane run in today’s NFL," he wrote. 

The 31-year-old, who was drafted by the Vikings out of Notre Dame in 2011, signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the team before the 2019-20 season.

At the end of October, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that the team—which was staring more than $180 million worth of cap commitments in the face through the next two seasons—was "open for business" and had even fielded calls on Rudolph. 

The Vikings were active in the weeks leading up to the NFL trade deadline, dealing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens.

But they stuck with Rudolph, and the two-time Pro Bowler went on to post 334 yards and one touchdown on 28 receptions before a foot injury took him out for the last four games of the season. 

Behind him on the team's depth chart is Irv Smith Jr., the team's second-round pick out of Alabama in 2019. He posted similar stats to Rudolph in 2020, with 265 yards on 30 receptions with five touchdowns. As a rookie, Smith collected 311 yards on 36-of-47 receiving for two scores.

After 10 years, Rudolph will be playing for another team come fall.