NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that the deal clears about $4 million in 2019 cap space for the Vikings, per sources informed of the situation.
The Vikes had just over $1 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, before the Rudolph deal provided some short-term relief.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport provided further clarity on the breakdown of Rudolph's four-year, $36 million extension agreed to Monday night and officially announced Tuesday morning: Rudolph gets $1.625 million additional this year added to his $7.625 million base salary, which includes $9 million fully guaranteed in all and $16.025 million in total guarantees (including injury guarantees), according to a source informed of the deal.
The breakdown illustrates that after 2019, it's back to a year-to-year proposition with Rudolph. In a sense, he got an extra $1.625 million this year in order to provide the Vikings salary cap relief. If he plays up to his standards, he could be back in Minnesota at a manageable rate. If he falls off, the Vikes could move on with limited damage.
Rudolph's situation had been tenuous for weeks given the team's salary cap situation, his cap hit, and the team drafting Irv Smith in the second round. The veteran tight end rightfully wouldn't take a pay cut to stay, and sides were going back and forth on an extension before Monday night's deal came to fruition. Throughout the process, Rudolph has said he wanted to remain in Minnesota if the deal was right. The four-year extension worth $9 million per year, which is on par with the top TEs, if it's seen through, did the trick.
A playoff contender, the Vikings wanted to find a way to keep Rudolph for at least 2019 as Smith makes the difficult transition from college to the pros, while creating cap space. Cutting the veteran was a result they hoped to avoid. The four-year extension seems to have satisfied everyone for at least one season.