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Kyle Rudolph: "I think I'm worth every dime of my contract"

Rudolph recorded 334 yards and one touchdown last season.
Kyle Rudolph

With the Minnesota Vikings pressed up against the salary cap, they need to find relief this offseason. One popular solution is to cut tight end Kyle Rudolph, but the Vikings tight end believes that he still has something to offer to the team.

Speaking on the "Unrestricted with Ben Leber" podcast, Rudolph said he was "worth every dime" of his contract, which calls for the 31-year-old to make $9.45 million in 2021 per Spotrac.

"I think I'm worth every dime of my contract," Rudolph said. "That doesn't mean I'm used to my potential and I'm used to do what I do well. So it will be interesting over the next few months. I have three years left on my contract. I don't want to go anywhere else."

Rudolph's comments are interesting considering he's coming off one of his worst seasons since his rookie year. Rudolph made 28 catches for 334 yards and one touchdown in 12 games, but seemed to hint that he wasn't used properly in the Vikings offense, but took one for the team.

"I can either get really good at the only thing I'm asked to do or I can complain about it and throw a fit," Rudolph explained. "What's going to be more productive for our team and for this organization?"

Even if Rudolph believes he's been misused, the Vikings' decisions over the past couple of seasons suggest he could be on the way out. The Vikings used a second-round pick in 2018 to select Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin stepped up with an increased role when Rudolph went down with a foot injury late last season.

Rudolph also had a contract squabble with the Vikings shortly after Smith was drafted. Rudolph was reportedly placed on the trade block before agreeing to a four-year, $36 million extension prior to the 2018 season.

Despite Rudolph's decline on the field, his value may also include what he brings off of it. Rudolph has a huge presence in the community including "Kyle Rudolph's End Zone" at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, which was the focus of a 2017 campaign for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

As one of the locker room leaders, Rudolph also ranks fifth in franchise history with 453 receptions and 48 receiving touchdowns during his 10 seasons in Minnesota.

Despite his resume, Rudolph's future in Minnesota could depend on the grim reality of the Vikings' salary cap situation. The Vikings are currently $13.2 million over a projected salary cap of $175 million and releasing Rudolph would create $5.1 million in savings and $8 million if designated as a post-June 1 cut.

With the Vikings slim on options to create cap space, Rudolph may not have a say in his desire to stay in Minnesota.

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