Why Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolphs's 2012 Season Wasn't a Fluke

By Dan Parzych
Kyle Rudolph
(Bruce Hemmelgarn/USA Today Sports)

When it comes to the top pass-catching tight ends in the league, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots and Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints stick out as the most effective players. However, there is one tight end that could be quickly working his way up the list when it comes to most effective players–Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings.

Rudolph certainly showed potential at times as a rookie in 2012 as a member of the Vikings, but the former Notre Dame star proved last season that he has what it takes to be a reliable weapon in the red zone in Minnesota’s passing game. Despite having one of the league’s top running backs in Adrian Peterson, Minnesota didn’t have the best of weapons for Christian Ponder in the passing game and the argument can be made that Rudolph’s success played a key factor with helping the team make a playoff run.

In his second season, Rudolph finished with 53 catches for 493 yards to go along with nine touchdowns–which was completely unexpected from Minnesota’s end. Now that Rudolph has shown what he’s capable of doing in the passing game, the Vikings will have even higher expectations for the star tight end heading into the 2013 season.

There was a reason why Minnesota was willing to use a second-round pick on Rudolph back in 2011 and there’s no question that last season wasn’t just a fluke. If anything, Rudolph’s first two seasons may be a sign that he’s only going to get better with experience–which is why he should be considered one of the top pass-catching tight ends heading into 2013.

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