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Vikings officially release Kyle Rudolph

The end of an era in Minnesota

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints
Yeah, like I wasn’t gonna use this picture one more time.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In a move that we’ve known was coming for some time, it is officially the end of an era for the Minnesota Vikings.

On Tuesday, the team announced that they were releasing tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Rudolph, until today, was the longest-tenured member of the Vikings, having been with the team since the Vikings selected him in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He had made it clear a little over a month ago that he would not be restructuring his deal again with the Vikings, and with Irv Smith Jr.’s emergence this past season and a significant cap figure, the writing has been on the proverbial wall ever since.

Rudolph has had an incredibly impressive career for the Vikings, as he ranks first or second amongst tight ends in pretty much every major statistical category. His 48 touchdown catches are the most for a tight end in team history (and fifth in team history overall), and his 453 receptions and 4,488 receiving yards in purple are second to only Steve Jordan in both of those categories.

This move could save the Vikings as much as $8 million in salary cap space, depending on whether or not they designate Rudolph as a post-June 1 cut.

With Rudolph’s release, the title of the longest-tenured Viking now falls to safety Harrison Smith, who has been with the team since 2012.

We wish Kyle Rudolph the best as he moves on with the rest of his NFL career. He’s certain to catch on somewhere, but it just wasn’t going to work out for him with the Vikings any longer. He’s done a ton of good not only for the Vikings, but for the Twin Cities community, and he’ll almost certainly continue that tradition wherever he winds up next.