The Minnesota Vikings started organized team activities this week. It’s the first step to get ready for the 2019 season after missing the NFC Playoffs last year.
The workouts are not mandatory, though 89 of the 90 current players on the roster werre at TCO Performance Center on Wednesday. One player noticeably in attendance and working with the first-team offense was tight end Kyle Rudolph. He’s in the final year of his current contract, and is due more than $7 million this season.
Rudolph has been the subject of recent trade rumors after the Vikings had to make it work financially around their razor-thin salary cap to sign their 2019 draft class. Most noticeably, linebacker Eric Kendricks restructured his contract so the Vikings could sign first-round pick Garrett Bradbury.
Rudolph said Wednesday the Vikings have offered him a contract extension, but work remains both between his agent and the team to finish the deal. It’s reportedly a five-year deal. He’s said multiple times he wants to stay with the Vikings, but acknowledged recently that a trade can’t be ruled out.
He said Wednesday there was no doubt he would attend Vikings’ OTAs, and he’s hopeful that there’s a resolution soon.
“It’s not a bad situation to be in. I get to come out every day and practice with my teammates. A bad situation would’ve been getting cut back in March and trying to find a job,” Rudolph said. “I have a job, so that’s the good thing. I get to come out here each and every day and practice with my teammates. Whatever happens, happens.”
He’s coming off one of the better statistical seasons of his career as he enters his ninth season with the Vikings. He had 64 catches for 634 yards and four touchdowns, averaging nearly 10 yards per catch.
One player not surprised to see Rudolph at TCO Performance Center this week is quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“Kyle is going to be consistent and be the guy he’s always been. We love him for it, and it’s why he’s played as many years as he has and had so much production and has stayed healthy,” Cousins said. “I think his future is bright and he’s got nothing to worry about.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said recently at his inaugural charity golf tournament that he loves Rudolph like he does all his players.
While he’s not involved in current discussions, Zimmer expects to see him at practice, whether it’s voluntary or not.
“Because both sides are working towards it. And he’s under contract,” Zimmer said.
Rudolph has made it known he wants to spend his entire career with the Vikings. If they can figure out the contract extension, that gets a lot closer to becoming a reality.
Other notes from Wednesday’s workouts:
- Wide receiver Stefon Diggs is not at OTAs this week, and isn’t required to be. Jordan Taylor, Jeff Badet and Brandon Zylstra al took plays with the first-team offense in his place.
- Garrett Bradbury lined up with the first-team offensive line at center, snapping to Kirk Cousins. Pat Elflein moved to left guard, Riley Reiff was at left tackle, Rashod Hill was at right guard and free agent acquisition Josh Kline was at right tackle. Brian O’Neill did not practice due to an undisclosed injury.
- Defensive tackle Linval Joseph was held out of team drills due to offseason surgery, but said he feels good.
- Defensive back Mike Hughes did individual drills on the side during practice Wednesday. He’s continuing his recovery from a torn ACL last season.
- Tight end David Morgan didn’t practice due to an undisclosed injury.