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Kyle Rudolph says he’s “too young” to take a pay cut

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Which could, potentially, complicate his remaining with the team

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Since the conclusion of the 2019 NFL Draft, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the Minnesota Vikings has been the future of tight end Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph, who the Vikings selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, is in the final year of his contract and carries a cap figure of $7.625 million. With the Vikings in need of salary cap space, doing something with Rudolph’s contract could be a way to open up some space.

Given that Rudolph is in the last year of his deal, the team can’t simply restructure his contract, as they recently did with linebacker Eric Kendricks, to open up space. The paths they could take include releasing Rudolph, trading him, putting together a contract extension, or getting Rudolph to agree to a straight pay cut.

On Thursday, Rudolph made it pretty clear that the last item on that list wasn’t an option in an interview with Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Still, Rudolph said “no way” when asked if he’d take a discount deal to stay.

“No I won’t, I am too young for that,” he continued.

Rudolph is due $7.6 million this season.

On the other hand, when he was asked if there was any other club he wanted to join, Rudolph was emphatic again in saying he wanted to stay here.

“Nowhere. I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said. “We want to stay here.”

Rudolph said he believes the team and his representatives are still on the same page in trying to get a deal done.

“They’re working really hard to get it done, and I hope it gets done,” he said.

Throughout the offseason, Rudolph has made it pretty clear that he would like to work out an extension with the team, and an extension would certainly end up giving him more guaranteed money in the long-term than the $7.625 million that he would make if he just plays out his contract this year.

The Vikings are still in need of salary cap space, even after getting all but one of their 2019 draft picks signed (and the one that isn’t signed isn’t going to affect their cap anyway). According to Over the Cap, the Vikings currently have just $1,129,984 in available salary cap space, which is the second-lowest figure in the NFL. (Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have less.) The team is going to need to have something in reserve for the season because of injuries that will happen and other reasons, so they’re going to have to do something to free up some room.

It certainly sounds like, as we’ve said all along, that Rudolph and the Vikings want to keep this relationship going for a ninth season. With another round of OTAs set to kick off on Tuesday, we’ll see if something shakes out before then.