Going into the 2012 season, expectations were growing for Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings cleared out their roster this past Spring, and he became the next man up. Well two weeks into the season, Rudolph certainly isn’t disappointing.
The second year player out of Notre Dame has stepped up to be a main target for Christian Ponder, catching 8 balls for 102 yards, with a touchdown so far this season.
His size and strength provide a clear advantage for Minnesota in the red zone, and his targets there should only increase as the season progresses. In addition to the red zone, Rudolph really just creates matchup problems anywhere he goes on the field. He’s so versatile in fact, that he even lines up on the outside, and in the slot on a fairly frequent basis.
Although he did have a couple drops in Sunday’s loss, I’m still very confident in his hands.
My only complaint in the Vikings’ game plan for Rudolph is that they haven’t targeted him enough. Through the first two games, he’s been thrown to 12 times, clearly a number that should increase.
Since training camp, the word has always been that Ponder’s favorite target is Rudolph. Even though Percy Harvin has been targeted more this season, you can see the clear bond between Ponder and Rudolph.
I’ve said it all along, Rudolph is the next big thing when it comes to NFL tight ends. He’s the prototypical build for a modern day pass-catching tight end. He’s got all the tools and now it’s just a matter of time and experience, before people mention him in the same breath as Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.