Kyle Rudolph’s last year in purple and gold?

Kyle Rudolph wants a contract extension.  He would be cheaper to sign now than a year after Norv Turner’s friendly system.  The logical idea would be to get it done, but that’s not happening.  In three years, he’s been one of the most reliable targets even with a quarterback carousel and an offensive coordinator who had more fingers than plays on his miniature note card.

So what’s the problem?  Good hands, good production and possibly a cheap extension…to quote Mugatu from Zoolander…I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!  I could only come up with a couple of explanations.

1.) Rudolph’s foot injury.  It’s quite possible that the new coaching staff wants to see how his foot injury heals up.  We all saw the nightmare that was John Carlson, AKA Captain Concussion.  Giving a long-term extension to an injured player could very well lead to regret if the player can’t stay on the field.

Kyle Rudolph
Kyle Rudolph

2.) Work ethic and personality.  With a brand new coaching staff comes the opportunity to start over.  Unfortunately, that means that all players in good standing need to prove once again that they are hard workers and good teammates.  Zimmer and the gang could be using this time to see what type of work ethic Rudolph has and make sure that he can be a leader on and off the field.  If this is the case, we might not have to wait much longer for extension talk than pre-season.

3.) Younger/cheaper talent.  When Rudolph when down with the foot injury and Carlson proved once again to be as fragile as an origami crane, I thought we were in trouble.  Well, we were already passed ‘in trouble’ and entered ‘seventh circle of hell’, but without the comforting baby blanket of a quality tight end.  Then, Chase Ford stepped in and did a decent job in relief duty.  Turner might think he has something cheaper to work with that can have similar production.  Besides Ford, UDFA A.C. Leonard is an intriguing prospect.  He’s a shorter TE, standing at 6’2”, but has blazing speed, soft hands and playmaking ability.  Leonard falling in the draft was mainly due to character concerns, an injury history and having a bit of a fumbling problem, but if Zimmer can straighten him out, he could become a good pass-catching TE.

Whether it’s one, none or all of these reasons, I know this for a fact: If Rudolph is in the Vikings’ future plans, we need to extend him sooner rather than later.  Having a career year would only negatively affect the pocketbook of the Vikings anywhere from an extra 1-3 million per year.

Dear Mr. Spielman…get it done, and save yourself some money.

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