The Minnesota Vikings have secured tight end Kyle Rudolph for the next five years after agreeing to a $36.5 million extension today. They are paying him based on what they hope he can do, not what he has already done for them.
Rudolph missed half of last season with a broken foot. In eight games, he had 313 yards with only three touchdowns. This was a far fall from when he broke out in 2012 with a nine touchdown season.
The Vikings saw that the going rate for a star tight end was in between $9 – $10 million. They tried to give him $7 million prior to his breakout to supplant the costs in the future. When you look at the ever-growing salaries for tight ends, overpaying Rudolph isn’t the worst thing. St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook is going to make just under what Rudolph is going to average in his contract.
The Vikings figured they had to do what was necessary to keep as much of their offense happy as possible. With a year of learning for first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater upcoming, Matt Cassel will most likely be the QB. With Rudolph agreeing to the contract, that means he has him, Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings all signed and healthy going into this season. At least they don’t have a bad receiving core in Minnesota as an excuse.
The tight end position as a whole is going through a change thanks to the Jimmy Graham case and ensuing contract extension. They will start to get paid like receivers, with the average players getting paid like average receivers. Rudolph could end up being a top five TE when it’s all said and done, but that hasn’t been proven quite yet. He needs a lot more work to do to be able to justify the contract.