The cap-strapped Vikings have been looking to create more room under the salary cap. An extension would alleviate the situation in the short term and keep Rudolph in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. That the 29-year-old has not agreed to the deal presented, despite saying he wants to remain a Viking, suggests the format of the offer favors the team in the long run.
A contract extension that reduces the current cap number and keeps Rudolph in Minnesota to help tutor Smith at one of the most difficult positions for a rookie to pick up is an ideal situation for both sides.
With Rudolph joining teammates for OTAs, it seems steps are at least being made toward that possible extension.
Coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday he's optimistic the tight end would be part of his team in 2019.
"Because both sides are working towards it and he's under contract," a matter-of-fact Zimmer replied when asked why he was optimistic.