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  • liny195
    January 6, 2020 at 6:39 pm #2465

    EAGAN Tom Compton Jersey , Minn. (AP) — As a ninth-year veteran on an expiring contract with a team in a tight salary cap situation, tight end Kyle Rudolph has no guarantee he’ll get to continue his career with the Minnesota Vikings.That so-far-unfulfilled desire for clarity on his football future has not stopped him from making spring workouts a priority.“I could have easily skipped optional practice, but that’s not what a leader of this team does. These guys expect to see me out here each and every day, and I’m going to do that,” Rudolph said, later adding: “I don’t know what kind of example it would set if I said I wanted to be here, and I wasn’t here.”Carrying a $7.625 million charge against the cap, Rudolph has declined to take an outright pay cut. He confirmed Wednesday that the Vikings have offered him a five-year extension that would reduce his 2019 salary in exchange for a longer-term deal, but his agent, Brian Murphy, and Vikings chief negotiator Rob Brzezinski have not reached an agreement to date.If there’s a stalemate Dan Bailey Jersey , Rudolph would be in danger of being traded or released. Such a move would not cost the team any dead money against the cap, but Rudolph said he didn’t anticipate the situation lingering until training camp.“They’re working extremely hard to get something done, and with that being said there’s plenty of other teams that are interested as well,” Rudolph said.To sign rookie center Garrett Bradbury, their first-round draft pick from North Carolina State, the Vikings had to restructure the contract of linebacker Eric Kendricks earlier this month.“We’re in a tough situation. Everybody knows that,” said Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowl pick who was drafted by the Vikings in the second round in 2011.Rudolph was in New York over the weekend to receive an award for community service. He took a 6 a.m. flight on Tuesday for Minneapolis so he could arrive at the facility in time to be on the field for the first organized team practice of the spring.“I get to play a game for a living,” Rudolph said, later adding: “The business side will take care of itself. I don’t have to worry about that.”Coincidentally or not, the Vikings drafted tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round out of Alabama last month. But as long as they can find cap space for Rudolph they’ll certainly find room in the offense for both players in an attempt to give quarterback Kirk Cousins more viable options in the passing game.“It’s exciting. It’s an element that we’ve never had here in my nine years Brett Jones Jersey ,” Rudolph said. “It forces defenses to play with three linebackers, and that allows us to control the game.”Said Cousins: “Kyle has done so many good things for so long, so to have him out there is a great sense of comfort. Then you add Irv’s youth and athleticism, that’s a great plus. No matter how you cut it, you’ve got five players who are eligible, and you want to get the best five.” EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Dalvin Cook took the first-down handoff for Minnesota, sized up the blocking at the line and veered hard to his left.Miami cornerback Bobby McCain had the angle on him, but Cook won the race to the edge and accelerated up the sideline to reach the end zone untouched for the Vikings on their merry way to a 41-17 victory over the Dolphins .That 13-yard touchdown run during a 21-point first quarter was a fitting snapshot of a performance by the offense that was as smooth as it’s been all season. That play was called to the same side of the field six days earlier in a 21-7 loss at Seattle, when the Vikings were as flat as they’ve been all year in trying to move the ball.Against the Seahawks, naturally Ameer Abdullah Jersey , the unblocked cornerback tackled Cook for a short gain. Quarterback Kirk Cousins promised Cook on the sideline that night the next time he had the opportunity he’d beat the defender to the perimeter and turn it into a big play.Sure enough, that’s what transpired against the Dolphins, when Cousins looked at Cook in the huddle and said simply, “Make him miss.”The margin between winning and losing in the NFL can be so slim that sometimes for no significant reason a play can be thwarted one week and thrive the next. Cousins has been vocal since the change about his insistence that the struggles were not a product of bad play calls but rather the fault of the players.“We’ve got to make the coaches right,” Cousins said.Still, there was a clear boost the Vikings gained from a fresh start under interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski after the firing of John DeFilippo . The shift in venue to another capacity crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium was the biggest help, and facing a Dolphins defense with many deficiencies instead of the Seahawks was a welcomed alternative.With Stefanski calling the plays on Sunday for the first time, there was a concerted effort to follow a streamlined, simplified game plan after the Vikings were held under 285 total yards in Seattle for the fourth time in a five-game stretch. They called 40 runs to 23 passes, by far their biggest favor of the ground game of the season.Coach Mike Zimmer, who’d been critical of DeFilippo last month for what he termed “too much volume” in the playbook from week to week Danielle Hunter Jersey , saw some negative effect that had on Cousins. He told his quarterback last week to remember what playing in the backyard in seventh grade felt like.“You don’t run plays. You just play the game,” Zimmer said. “I think that’s what he needs to do, just play the game and let it unfold.”Stefanski simply used more players, too. Fullback C.J. Ham had 18 snaps, and backup tight ends David Morgan and Tyler Conklin had 23 snaps apiece. Ham and Morgan, who returned from a four-game absence because of a knee injury, had the key blocks to give Cook his chance to beat the cornerback one-on-one on his first touchdown.The offensive linemen, too, were at their best in a season that has been a struggle at times for the Vikings up front. Zimmer made the players report for meetings on Monday instead of the typical day off after a late-in-the-year victory, citing a desire to give the offensive linemen an opportunity to enjoy reviewing their performance.“What we are able of accomplishing when we do the right things,” Zimmer said.The bigger-picture reason Eric Kendricks Jersey , of course, to stay at work is the NFC wild-card race. Philadelphia and Washington both won to stay on the heels of the Vikings (7-6-1), who could clinch their spot as soon as next weekend, but could also find themselves eliminated if they don’t win their final two games. Keeping that rushing attack going will go a long way toward avoiding that fate.“These guys believe in me 100 percent, and I believe in them 100 percent,” Cook said of his blockers. “So when you’ve got a group like that, it’s a number of positive outcomes. We know what we can do.”

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