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Former Viking Eyes Reunion and Is Fast as Ever


New York Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

In the 2011 draft, the Vikings selected a player who would become a good player for the team and an even better person for the Twin Cities area. The tight end Kyle Rudolph appeared on Tuesday’s episode of Paul Allen’s radio show ‘9 to Noon’ on KFAN, and he made clear that he would welcome a reunion with his former team. He spent the first ten seasons of his career with the Vikings and last season, for the first time in his career, outside of the Vikings organization with the New York Giants.

Minnesota Is His Home

Allen asked if he “would like to play here [in Minnesota] again, maybe even next season?” And his response was positive for all Vikings and Rudolph fans:

Absolutely. I said it when we left here that Minnesota is always home. That’s never been brought to my attention more than when we came back from New Jersey after last season. If it’s at a grocery store, or at a Timberwolves game…at WWE Smackdown this past Friday [when] ‘Come home, Kyle’ chants erupted. … The amount of people that come up and say ‘We wish you were still here.’ Even before I was released in New York ‘You have to come back here.’ Just the amount of love that myself and my family have gotten from people around the state. It really opened our eyes how admired we are by Vikings fans.

Kyle Rudolph, is excited about the love he and his his family are getting in Minnesota

It’s evident that Rudolph´s home is in Minnesota. That’s where his family lives. They partly moved to New Jersey during last season. However, they came back to Minnesota once the season was over. The love by fans of the purple team is not surprising after he played one decade for the team and has done many great things in the community.

Super Bowl Contender?

However, he made clear that not just the person Kyle Rudolph would welcome a reunion with the Vikings, but also the athlete Kyle Rudolph:

“For me, there’s still one thing left to do here and that’s win a championship in Minnesota. So obviously I would love the opportunity to have another crack at it. I have talked about being very calculated in my next decision in terms of where I wanna go. I have never won a Super Bowl. I’d love to hoist a Lombardi at some point in my career before it’s all set and done and I do believe that this Vikings team has a chance to do that. Certainly I would be open to that.”

– Kyle Rudolph, likes the chances of the Vikings in the next season

Rudolph has been on a lot of different teams in his career. That he identified this team as a potential champion is a meaningful opinion and should get fans excited about the upcoming season.

He knows the role he wants to have on the new team:

“I wanna bring something to a team. I want to be an addition to a team.”

– Kyle Rudolph

The fact that he doesn’t just want to be on a roster but also wants to contribute to a team’s success is good news for the Vikings, as their tight end room is not very deep. Irv Smith is the unquestioned starter. He is talented but was the backup to Rudolph in his first two seasons. After Rudolph was released, he was supposed to take over. However, a knee injury before the season started was why he couldn’t play and was stashed on injured reserve instead.

Behind Smith, the Vikings employ two blocking tight ends. Johnny Mundt worked with Kevin O’Connell last season in Los Angeles. Ben Ellefson, meanwhile, played for the Vikings in 2021. Neither of them possesses the pass-catching abilities of Rudolph. Nick Muse, a seventh-round rookie, and Zach Davidson, a second-year player considered a project, are the other players in the room.

Fast as Always?

Rudolph played for the Giants last season and was a big disappointment. He finished the season with 257 receiving yards and just one touchdown. However, he doesn’t feel like he’s declining:

“There’s a skill set that I can bring to any offense in this league that doesn’t diminish with age. I’ve never been fast. To think that ‘Oh, he’s 32, he can’t run anymore,’ I couldn’t run at 22 when I won the Pro Bowl MVP. There’s a skill set that I bring. My frame and my body, catch radius, ability to score touchdowns that any offense in the league would like to add right now.”

– Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph, indeed, has a great catch radius. He’s 6’6″ and therefore hard for defenders to cover in the red zone. The last team that tried to defend Rudolph 1 on 1 in the endzone was the New Orleans Saints in the playoff game. The Vikings moved on to the divisional round after Rudolph’s game-winner in overtime.

Best Hands In the Business

Kyle Rudolph Works Out for Familiar Team
Nov 17, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to that, he has very sure hands and rarely drops a pass. Per Profootballreference.com, his last dropped pass dates back to the 2018 season. In his previous seasons with the Vikings, he discovered his ability to catch passes with one hand.

This catch against the Cowboys wasn’t a one-time thing. He had a similar one against the Titans. Overall, the tight end played 140 games for the Vikings and caught 453 passes for almost 4,500 yards and 48 touchdowns. He currently ranks sixth on the all-time Vikings leaders in receiving touchdowns after Thielen surpassed him last season. Rudolph was always dependable. Between 2015 and 2019, he did not miss a game.

Another highlight play came against the Lions when he caught a ‘Hail Mary’ in 2018.

His absurd highlight plays were one part that made him a fan favorite. The fact that he was the Vikings nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award multiple times was another one. The work that he has done in the community, together with his wife Jordan, is remarkable.

The Vikings could use a leader like him off the field with his skill set on the field. He would be an excellent addition for the right price.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt

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