Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans have been counting down the days to see their team take the field and play for the National Title. Fans, Monday night will be here soon enough so give the Rudy and Knute Rockne All-American DVDs a rest and cheer on a few former ND players in the NFL playoffs.
Saturday night, when the Minnesota Vikings make their return to the playoffs former Golden Domers Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton get their shot a post season glory. Rookies Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton were the veterans of the 2011 Irish secondary and second year tight end Kyle Rudolph was a key competent of the Irish offense his three years in South Bend.
The MVP of the Minnesota Vikings is obviously Adrian Peterson, who had perhaps one of the best comeback seasons ever. While Peterson is the focus for the Vikings running game, Rudolph is the key to the air attack of Minnesota.
Rudolph has come up big for the Vikings in his second season. Rudolph has been one of quarterback Christian Ponder favorite targets this season. Rudolph caught 53 passes for 493 and was very effective in the red zone for Minnesota hauling in nine touchdowns. Carlson provided a spark with eight catches for 43 yards this season. Rudolph was a huge part of the Viking offense this season and one of his former teammates was a key on the other side of the ball.
Harrison Smith had an outstanding rookie season in the Minnesota secondary. Smith was second on the team in tackles finishing the season with 103 tackles (73 solo), 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Smith recorded three interceptions and like Rudolph gave the Vikings a scoring threat returning two for touchdowns. Blanton also had a rookie impact for the Vikings coming up with 13 tackles on the season.
The Vikings face a tough test facing a Green Bay Packers team they defeated a week ago to get into the playoffs. Don’t count out a team that has four former Golden Domers.