Vikings counting on -- and paying -- Rudolph as elite tight end, so now it's time to produce

Kyle Rudolph has a new contract to match the significant value the Minnesota Vikings have considered him to be for their offense.

Now they need their not-so-young-anymore tight end to put together a complete season to prove it.

Rudolph has 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns over his three-year NFL career. Jimmy Graham exceeded both of those totals last season for New Orleans, and Rob Gronkowski did the same three years ago for New England.

But the Vikings believe Rudolph can not only be an integral part of their system but perform like the elite tight end he'll be getting paid to be this season and beyond. Rudolph signed a five-year extension to his rookie deal on Sunday night.


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