The Cap-Strapped Vikings Pieced Together Enough Cash to Squeeze in a Kyle Rudolph Extension

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The Cap-Strapped Vikings Pieced Together Enough Cash to Squeeze in a Kyle Rudolph Extension

NFL News and Rumors

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Minnesota Vikings during the offseason. Things have been so tough, they had to re-work Eric Kendricks’ contract just to sign their first-round pick because they were so strapped for cap space. But finally, the team made a move their fans could applaud.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Minnesota came to an agreement to extend tight end Kyle Rudolph on a four-year deal worth $36 million.

The deal includes $16.025 million in total guarantees, keeps the two-time Pro Bowl tight end in the only place he has known during his eight-year NFL career, and allows for second-round rookie Irv Smith Jr. to learn how to make it at a tough position while sitting behind a pro’s pro on the depth chart. And while that’s all fine and dandy, perhaps the most important nugget comes from NFL Network teammate Tom Pelissero, who hears the extension creates $4 million in salary cap space for a Vikings team that was really up against it.

And yet, the move feels a bit curious for a cap-strapped club.

The cap-strapped Vikings are paying Kirk Cousins a bonkers contract. But rather than work around the edges and build around him with players on affordable contracts who can grow with the team during some trying cap-related times, Minnesota has backed up the truck to invest $103.5 million worth of contracts to a pair of players who are in their late 20s to deals that will take them into their 30s. Because in addition to the $36 million Rudolph is receiving, let’s not forget about the five-year deal worth $67.5 million for linebacker Anthony Barr. Both are good players, but is “good” enough when better is expected? Well, it certainly wasn’t “good” or “enough” last year when the Vikings went 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs when they lost at home against a Bears team that had nothing to play for in Week 17.

So while there is a chance the Vikings will be on the hook for just the $49 million in total guarantees in the contracts handed out to Rudolph and Barr, spending that type of cash on complimentary pieces when the quarterback is chewing up a whopping 15 percent of the team’s cap space doesn’t look like an optimal use of available funds. Good luck with all that!


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.