Obviously it is still very early in training camp, but the positive buzz surrounding Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph continues to grow. An NFL Network reporter has annointed him the “MVP” of Vikings’ training camp to this point, suggesting the team is impressed with his work ethic and his work as a pass receiver and blocker.
Rudolph was already virtually assured of a significant role in the Vikings’ offense in this his second NFL season as Minnesota begins a youth movement throughout their roster, but the recent knee injury (a Grade 2 MCL strain) to fellow tight end John Carlson that is expected to sideline him for up to four weeks further opens the door for Rudolph to emerge. Even if Carlson returns by Week 1, and his current timetable basically makes that a formality, Rudolph is the superior physical talent and the Vikings will have a hard time keeping him off the field as long as he himself is healthy. If Carlson is slow to recover or hampered by his injury early in the season, the significant investment the Vikings made in him will look even more foolish if Rudolph relegates him to an insignificant role.
Time will tell how the Vikings tight end situation ultimately works out, and if both guys are healthy we should see a fair amount of two tight ends sets with Rudolph and Carlson on the field together once the regular season starts.