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Kyle Rudolph hoping to stay with Vikings long-term

Kyle Rudolph is willing to bet on himself as the best tight end in the NFL. Now he's waiting on the Minnesota Vikings to wager on him.


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The 24-year-old told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Thursday that he hopes to sign an extension to remain in Minnesota before his rookie contract expires after this season. However, Rudolph said there have been no negotiations thus far.

"Obviously, my financial situation is completely in their hands right now," Rudolph said. "I've got one year left on my deal here and I'm extremely excited for the changes that have been made around here (under first-year coach Mike Zimmer).

"All I can worry about is going out and being successful. The contract will take care of itself. ... I'd be more than happy to stay here for a long time."

It's understandable that the Vikings wouldn't rush negotiations with the tight end who missed the final eight games of the 2013 season with a fractured left foot. (Rudolph says his foot is fully healed.)

The biggest factor to watch with Rudolph? How he fits into new coordinator Norv Turner's offense.

Turner is renowned for his work with tight ends -- the two most recent examples being Antonio Gates in San Diego and Jordan Cameron in Cleveland, the latter of whom Turner helped make into a 2013 Pro Bowler.

While Rudolph isn't as fast or athletic as either Gates or Cameron, Turner excels at getting matchups to fit his big-bodied tight ends.

Prior to his injury last season, Rudolph showed an ability to get open. He also has strong hands, can beat linebackers and break tackles. Regardless of whether Matt Cassel or Teddy Bridgewater is throwing him the ball, a healthy Rudolph should see an uptick in his production in 2014.

If Turner works his tight end magic again, there is a chance that, come 2015, the Vikings could be wishing they already extended Rudolph.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down Colin Kaepernick's new contract and debates which players are poised for a breakout.

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