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Vikings Release Tight End Kyle Rudolph


EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Tuesday announced they have terminated the contract of Kyle Rudolph.

The 31-year-old tight end spent the past 10 seasons in Purple after his selection in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He made an indelible impact on both the organization and the Twin Cities community.

Rudolph posted a "Dear Minnesota" thank-you letter on 'The Players Tribune' on Tuesday afternoon.

Vikings General Manger Rick Spielman issued the following statement:

"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. Kyle and Jordan have made such an immeasurable impact on our team and community that may never be matched. The energy they have invested in the community, most notably through the End Zone at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, is truly remarkable. I admire Kyle, and we will miss him and his family. We sincerely wish them the best."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has issued the following statement:

"Kyle has been a leader and mentor for us on and off the field from the first day I arrived in Minnesota. 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."

On the field, Rudolph will go down as one of the best tight ends in franchise history.

View the best photos of tight end Kyle Rudolph during his time with the Vikings.

A two-time Pro Bowler (and the game's MVP in 2013), Rudolph recorded 453 catches for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns over 140 career regular-season games in Minnesota.

He ranks fifth in team history in both receptions and touchdowns and is 10th all-time in Vikings lore in receiving yards.

Rudolph has the most touchdown receptions by a tight end in franchise history and is second behind Steve Jordan among tight ends in catches and yards.

The former Notre Dame standout provided some of the most memorable moments in franchise history during his decade-long run in Purple, including scoring the Vikings first-ever touchdown at U.S. Bank Stadium when the venue opened in 2016.

Rudolph also came up big in the postseason, and silenced the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in January of 2020 with a walk-off touchdown catch in overtime.

That score gave the Vikings a 26-20 win over the Saints and was Minnesota's first overtime playoff win in franchise history.

He also provided plenty of other memorable moments in the end zone over the years, whether it was a Hail Mary touchdown in Detroit in 2018, leading the "Duck, Duck, Gray Duck" celebration in Chicago in 2017 or snagging a handful of scores with just one hand in recent seasons.

But for all of his production and efforts on the field, the team captain made perhaps an even bigger impact off of it.

A three-time selection as the Vikings Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Rudolph and his family leave a lasting legacy as people who changed lives in Minnesota.

In December of 2017 Rudolph and his wife, Jordan, opened Kyle Rudolph's End Zone at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

View photos of tight end Kyle Rudolph who supported the community in many ways during his time with the Vikings.

The interactive space gives families and patients a place to be at ease during the stressful times of being at the hospital. A handful of the unique features include a small kitchen area, indoor basketball hoop, digital sports simulator, sensory walk/area for patients with autism spectrum disorder or other behavior health conditions, and television and video game consoles.

Rudolph also hosted numerous holiday events for children and youth football camps during the summers.

Rudolph also led efforts this summer to ensure Minneapolis residents were able to get essential goods in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in May.

Wanting to help "Be the Change," Rudolph was among a handful of Vikings who carried bags of food to waiting cars, passed out necessary items or just chatted with people in need.

Rudolph was also a member of the Vikings Social Justice Committee in recent years and helped encourage productive dialogue inside and outside of Minnesota's locker room.

Rudolph was also named as the Vikings Ed Block Courage Award winner in 2018 and was Minnesota's nominee as the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award in 2020.