Vikings' Kyle Rudolph Says He Won't Restructure His Contract, Upset with Usage

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IJanuary 27, 2021

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph will refuse to restructure his contract as his team enters the new league year more than $12 million above the cap.

Appearing on the "Unrestricted with Ben Leber" podcast, Rudolph said he is disappointed with his role on the team throughout the past two seasons, and while he "sees both sides," he won't take any less than the $7.65 million base salary he is owed for 2021 (h/t Courtney Cronin of ESPN).

Rudolph is under contract with the Vikings until 2024.

Rudolph has cooperated with the team in renegotiating his contract in the past. In 2019, Rudolph transitioned his contract to a four-year extension. This time around, his $9.45 million cap hit for 2021 could be cut nearly in half, per Cronin. But he said he's not interested in taking a pay cut:

"If I were (team owners) the Wilfs, if I were (general manager) Rick (Spielman), I'm looking at this situation like, 'Hey, we're paying this guy a lot of money and you're not using him, so why are we continuing to pay him a lot of money?' With that being said, I think I'm worth every dime of my contract. That doesn't mean that I'm used to my potential and I'm used to do what I do well, so it will be interesting over the next few months."

Releasing the veteran, who is entering his 11th year in the league, would give the team $5.1 million, Cronin said.

This season, the 31-year-old had 28 receptions on 37 targets for 334 yards and a career-low one touchdown through 12 games before he was moved to injured reserve with a Lisfranc sprain.

Irv Smith Jr. was the squad's most productive tight end in 2020, finishing third among all Vikings pass-catchers with 365 yards and five touchdowns on 30 receptions.

Rudolph said he doesn't want to play anywhere else, but the Vikings will have to find another way to cut costs in order for him to do so.