vikings

Zulgad’s 3-and-out: Why isn’t Kyle Rudolph taking what Vikings are offering?

Eric Kendricks’ willingness to restructure his contract so the Vikings could sign first-round pick Garrett Bradbury was expected to push the talk about tight end Kyle Rudolph’s contract to the back-burner.

Only that hasn’t turned out to be the case.

On Thursday, Rudolph was quoted by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune as saying he would not take a pay cut to remain in Minnesota, adding that at 29, he is too young to do that. Later in the day, Pro Football Talk published a report that the Vikings and Rudolph have not ended contract talks but that the sides also aren’t making much progress.

Citing a source, PFT reported the Vikings have offered Rudolph a five-year extension, which would give him a new-money average among the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. The source, presumably based in Eagan, added that the Vikings have not asked Rudolph to take a pay cut for the final year of his contract in 2018.

Rudolph’s salary-cap figure for this coming season is $7.625 million and the Vikings, who continue to look for ways to create cap room, clearly would like to reduce that cap hit. If the Vikings are really this interested in keeping Rudolph, and don’t want to cut his salary, why isn’t this getting done and why is it playing out in a public manner?

Here’s one potential reason.

If this can’t be resolved, it will be interesting to see if Rudolph is on the Vikings’ roster on opening day. There is a chance that he might be happy to see what his role is next season, and if it’s as significant as he hopes under the newly hired Gary Kubiak, his output might earn him one big final contract that will exceed what the Vikings are offering now.

The Vikings, obviously, want that production. Especially since second-round tight end Irv Smith Jr., and Rudolph could form an impressive one-two punch and because the Vikings really don’t have a reliable No. 3 receiver. The Vikings also would like Rudolph to play by their contract rules. He continues to show no interest in doing that and that means this situation isn’t going away.

CHEAP POHLADS? NOT IN THIS CASE

The Pohlad-family payroll bashers — I see you out there, don’t try to hide — will be disappointed to know that their soapbox collapsed under them this week. On Thursday, the Twins’ brain trust of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine admitted to a very expensive mistake, and were backed by ownership, when they designated righthanded reliever Addison Reed for assignment.

That means the Twins will eat about $6 million of the two-year, $16.75 million contract they signed Reed to before the 2018 season. Reed, who had 19 saves in 2017 with the Mets and 125 saves in his career when he joined the Twins, went 1-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 55 games last season. This came after he had a 2.36 ERA in his first 25 appearances.

A thumb injury on his non-pitching hand just before spring training finished landed Reed on the injured list to start this season. He gave up eight runs and 13 hits, including four home runs, in five rehab appearances that each went one inning for Triple-A Rochester before the Twins decided they had seen enough.

The Twins now will have seven days to trade Reed or, more likely, watch him walk away with a nice check in hand. This is the exact type of move owner Jim Pohlad long has been accused of being too cheap to make, but it’s the type of move smart teams are willing to make once they recognize a mistake has been made.

WHAT A DEAL

Two-plus months ago, it appeared Charlie Coyle’s seventh NHL season might end without a playoff appearance. Now, Coyle is only four wins from hoisting the Stanley Cup for his hometown team.

Coyle has six goals and six assists and is a plus-9 in 17 playoff games with the Boston Bruins. Coyle was dealt to the Bruins on Feb. 20 for winger Ryan Donato and what has become a fourth-round pick because of Boston’s postseason success.

Coyle had only two goals with four assists in 21 regular-season games after joining the Bruins, but that has changed as the pressure has increased. This is easily Coyle’s most production in seven postseason appearances. In fact, Coyle had seven goals and eight assists and was a minus-17 in 44 career playoff games with the Wild. The Bruins’ depth, talent and chemistry provided Coyle far more of a chance to be successful in Boston than he was in Minnesota.

While the Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask by Wild general manager Paul Fenton looks like an awful deal, the Coyle trade might turn out to be just fine. Donato had four goals and 12 assists in 22 games with the Wild and his shoot-first philosophy will fit in well on a team were many forwards are often far-too-willing to pass.

Coyle is a guy that left many Wild fans wondering when they would see this type of performance. It had become clear it wasn’t going to be in Minnesota, but in Boston it has been a very different story.





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