NFL Minnesota Vikings

Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson the Next Big NFL Tight End Duo?

The Minnesota Vikings quietly acquired free agent tight end John Carlson this off-season, significantly upgrading their roster at the tight end spot. With Visanthe Shiancoe out of the picture, it’s time for Kyle Rudolph and his new teammate to step up for the franchise.

Carlson showed great potential in his first 2 NFL seasons by racking up over 1200 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. His career hit a new low in 2011, as his missed the entire season with a torn labrum.

The Vikings however were not deterred by this, signing Carlson to a 5 year/$25 million dollar deal. Clearly they saw signs of the Carlson from 08 and 09 during his workout, if they were willing to throw a 5 year deal on the table.

Kyle Rudolph on the other hand, is just a young player ready for a breakout season. He is the epitome of what a modern day NFL tight end should be, 6’6 – 250 lbs, and able to run near a 4.6/40.

Coming off his rookie campaign of 249 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, Rudolph should easily triple his production from a season ago. He figures to be one of the top weapons for Christian Ponder

Times have changed in the NFL, tights end are what’s in right now in the league. “Hybrid” tight ends like Rudolph and Carlson are what teams want in their passing schemes, and why not? Tight ends present some of the toughest match ups for opposing defenses across the board in the league.

The Vikings hold two young players that have the tools to be in the same ballpark as the best in the game, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

It’s certainly early on, Rudolph and Carlson haven’t even played a game together yet, so Vikings’ fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves, but at the same time, they should feel good about tight end spot on the roster. The young duo is merely just potential at this point, but the potential is very legitimate.

It’s not something that will happen over night, but Rudolph and Carlson could find themselves near the top of the list of NFL tight end duos that’s surely to form over the next several years.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish