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Vikings release veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph was drafted by the Vikings in the second round of the 2011 draft, spent 10 seasons with Minnesota and compiled 453 receptions for 4,488 yards and 48 TDs.
Credit: AP
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have released veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The team announced the move Tuesday as they look to free up cap room space this offseason.

Rudolph, who was drafted by the Vikings in the second round of the 2011 draft, spent 10 seasons with Minnesota and compiled 453 receptions for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns.

Rudolph was on the receiving end of a game-winning catch against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card playoffs in 2020, and played an integral part in helping lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship game in 2017.

But Rudolph's impact in Minnesota was much more than football. He was also a very active member of the community, especially with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

"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," said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman in a statement. "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." 

Rudolph was a three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, which is designated to one player on each team for their community outreach and charity work.

On the field, Rudolph is fifth all-time on the Vikings list of career receptions and touchdowns, and holds the record for the most touchdown catches by a tight end in team history.

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

Rudolph thanked the Minnesota fans in a tweet and in an article he wrote in The Players Tribune, recounting his career in Minnesota.