MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings have released longtime tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The team announced the move Tuesday afternoon. Rudolph played for the Vikings for a decade. They took him in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft.
“Thank you Minnesota!!” Rudolph tweeted. “Although my time as a Viking has come to a close, my time as a MINNESOTAN is just getting started.”
The well-loved veteran wrote a lengthier farewell on The Players’ Tribune.
“Kyle has been a leader and mentor for us on and off the field from the first day I arrived in Minnesota,” head coach Mike Zimmer said in a statement. “He has been such an important part of this team and community throughout his career and it has been an honor to coach him the last seven seasons. He will be missed, and we wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
“From the moment we drafted Kyle as a young man out of Notre Dame in 2011, through his 10th season with the Vikings in 2020, he has been one of the premier tight ends in the NFL and most influential and positive leaders I’ve ever been around,” general manager Rick Spielman said. “Kyle and Jordan have made such an immeasurable impact on our team and community that may never be matched.”
In his career, Rudolph has caught 453 passes for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns. The touchdowns are the most ever by a Vikings tight end, while his yardage ranks second at the position in team history.
Irv Smith Jr. is set to take over the No. 1 tight end spot with Rudolph gone. Last season, Smith caught 30 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns.