Tight end Kyle Rudolph said he hasn't talked with the Minnesota Vikings yet about a contract extension, but he hopes to remain in Minnesota beyond the 2014 season.
Rudolph is in the final year of his four-year, $4.63 million rookie contract as a second-round draft pick in 2011, the first year of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement.
"I've really enjoyed my time here, from the top down, in our organization. I think we have the best owners in football. They're willing to do anything for us to win," Rudolph said. "Everybody in the front office, the new staff, I really like the direction this team is going in. I'm excited to be a part of that future."
Rudolph played and started the first eight games last season before a foot injury caused him to miss the second half of the season. He was placed on injured reserve for the final three weeks of the season and played in only 40.7 percent of the offensive snaps for the year. He finished with 30 catches for 313 yards.
Rudolph said his foot started feeling better in the middle of February.
"I was doing things before then, but in a normal offseason, you're not going to run around until about the middle of February anyway," Rudolph said. "I wanted to make sure I took that time to make sure everything was good to go. About the middle of February, I started running around and I've had no problems at all."
In 2012, Rudolph was healthy enough to play in all 16 games, setting career highs in catches (53), yards (493) and touchdowns (nine).
But 2014 will be Rudolph's first time with a different offense. With new head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Rudolph's role will change.
He's excited for the possibilities.
"Obviously everyone knows the success that Coach Turner has had with tight ends. If you go back all the way back to the Dallas days and Washington, a little bit of time in San Francisco, San Diego, you just look at the tight ends he's had, I hope to fall in line with that," he said. "I'm excited to get into this offense."
He hopes his presence in the new offense lasts beyond 2014, but that will take a new contract with the Vikings, who have just over $10 million in salary cap space and are expected to need about $6 million of that to sign their rookies. They also want to have a few million in reserve to deal with in-season injuries.
Rudolph would like an extension, but realizes he doesn't control the timing on that possibility.
"That's completely up to them. Obviously, I would love to be here for a while," he said, "but that's something you'd have to ask them. It's all on their terms, obviously."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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