Kyle Rudolph isn’t leaving Minnesota anytime soon.
A former second round pick by the Vikings out of Notre Dame, Rudolph has earned the reputation as one of the best tight ends in the league. He’s tallied 386 catches and 41 touchdowns over his eight-year career.
Rudolph posted a heartfelt message on Twitter after signing the contract, titling it “Unfinished business.” Despite some heightened expectations, the Vikings did not make the playoffs a year ago.
“Just under a decade ago, I received a phone call that would change my life. On that day, all I knew is that I would be playing in the NFL, realizing my childhood dream. What I didn’t know was the role the state of Minnesota would play in my life,” Rudolph wrote.
“Marrying my wife and establish[ing] our home … in Minnesota. Experiencing the birth of my 3 beautiful children … in Minnesota. Starting a journey to better the lives of children dealing with a disease that doesn’t discriminate … in Minnesota. Giving everything I can possibly give, professionally and personally, to the greatest sports franchise and its fans … in Minnesota. And I am honored beyond words to say that my home, our home will always be … in Minnesota! #UnfinishedBusiness.”
Rudolph missed 15 games between 2013-14, but has been healthy since, playing in all 16 games the past four seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and ’17.
In quarterback Kirk Cousins first season in Minnesota, Rudolph was targeted 82 times, catching 64 balls for 634 yards and four touchdowns. His catch rate of 78% was the best in his career.
According to the Star Tribune, since 2015, only two tight ends — Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz — have caught more passes than Rudolph’s 253.
However, Rudolph has expressed excitement about the possibilities of playing with two tight ends.
“It’s something, an element, that we’ve never had here in my nine years being here. It forces defenses to play with three linebackers, and that allows us to control the game, when we go out there in three-wide sets,” Rudolph said. “People always talk about creating mismatches — well, now they have five DBs on the field, and yeah, there’s still mismatches, there’s size mismatches, but now we can kind of control and do things how we want to do them.”
The Vikings begin minicamp on Tuesday and Rudolph is expected to finalize the deal then, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.