MANKATO, Minn. — Kyle Rudolph’s potential in Norv Turner’s offense has led the Minnesota Vikings to make him the NFL’s fifth highest-paid tight end.
Rudolph, 24, signed a five-year contract extension with Minnesota on Sunday night. Rudolph, a 2012 second-round draft pick by the Vikings, was set to enter the final season of his contract and was expected to be a vital part of new coordinator Norv Turner’s offense.
The contract, first reported by FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer, is for $36.5 million with the possibility of Rudolph earning up to $40 million, a source told FOXSportsNorth.com. Rudolph is guaranteed $19.5 million in the extension.
"I’m extremely excited to get this extension completed and continue my career with the Minnesota Vikings," Rudolph said in a statement released by the team. "I’ve said all along I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I love the fans, the community and, most importantly, I’m excited about where this team is going. I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and helping this organization reach our ultimate goal."
Rudolph is coming off an injury-marred 2013 season in which he had 30 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. Rudolph’s season was ended early with a foot injury.
Rudolph was named the Pro Bowl MVP following the 2012 season and was looking to take the next step in his career last year before being hurt. In 2012, Rudolph caught nine touchdown passes, the second most by any tight end in the league that season and the second-most in Vikings’ history by a tight end. He had 53 catches for 493 yards.
With 15 touchdowns in 39 career games, Rudolph ranks fifth in Minnesota franchise history for a tight end.
Turner has a history of working with successful tight ends, including Jay Novacek in Dallas, Antonio Gates in San Diego and last year with Jordan Cameron in Cleveland. Rudolph is expected to be the next in line for Turner.
Rudolph worked hard in the offseason and the Vikings’ coaches have been working with Rudolph on his route-running this offseason.
"I’m very excited to get this extension done with Kyle," general manager Rick Spielman said in the release. "We drafted him, he’s done a tremendous job since he’s been here. Our whole focus on moving forward in this organization is to draft our players, develop them and keep them here. He’s one of our young guys who is going to be a building block as we go forward in the future and just very excited to get this behind us so we can look forward to seeing him produce over the coming years."