The Minnesota Vikings have one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, making it difficult to narrow down the team’s top players. But we at Vikings Territory decided to tackle the task anyway, wrangling up some of the best Vikings writers around to help us name the the Top 30. If you missed the first entry of this series, check it out HERE.
Follow the jump for selections 20-11!
20: John Sullivan, C
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): If healthy, Sullivan reclaims his starting spot and center and improves Minnesota’s line. If not, he rides the bench and watches Joe Berger adequately fill his shoes.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): The big question about Sullivan is whether or not his back has healed well enough for him to return to a starting center job. If he can, confidence and ability could be an issue. Sullivan is a major wild card for this team, but at least they have insurance at the position in case he can’t go.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Let’s hope Sullivan comes back strong for the Vikings in 2016. He is a fantastic leader for the team, especially for the younger players behind him.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Sullivan’s year will all come down to staying healthy, if he can come back and be the player we know he can, this offensive line could be lookin at a 180 compared to last year.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): A healthy and effective Sullivan would really bolster the Vikings offensive line, and give them more depth in case more injuries hit again this year.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): John Sullivan is returning, but how will his back injury hold up? I’m not convinced he’ll be durable, but if he can return to his natural form, the Vikings offensive line will benefit.
“We need to remember Sullivan was one of the three best centers in the league when healthy.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): We need to remember Sullivan was one of the three best centers in the league when healthy. If he’s back to pre-injury form, this line will be much improved.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): If Sullivan is unable to beat out Joe Berger this summer for the starting center spot, his career with the Vikings could end before the season even begins. It is hard to imagine that Minnesota would keep Sullivan around as a backup given his current age and salary.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): Entering 2016, the biggest mystery among the Vikings’ offensive line is Sullivan. After missing the entire 2015 season due to back surgery it will be interesting to see who wins the training camp battle at center between Berger and Sullivan.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Concerns stemming from multiple back procedures make John Sullivan’s value tough to judge heading into the 2016 season, but he has proven to be one of the top centers in the league when healthy.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): There are no guarantees that Sully will return to form after the kind of injury he sat out with last season. But even if he can get close to what he was before getting hurt, Teddy Bridgewater won’t know what to do with all that time he’ll have in the pocket.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): Once one of the NFL’s best centers, Sully needs to come back healthy in order to reclaim that title. Chronic injuries are such an anti-climatic way for a career to turn downwards, so I’m hoping he can put it all in the past and keep moving in the right direction.
19: Blair Walsh, K
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Walsh is still one of the most productive kickers in the league despite the kick-that-shall-not-be-named. He’ll bounce back nicely in 2016.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): Kickers are the most valuable players on a team at many times. They score a lot of the team’s points, and if the Vikings’ offense continues to struggle the way they did last year, Minnesota could be relying on Walsh’s foot quite often this year.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Although Walsh struggled with consistency in 2015, he has all of the talent in the world. He can kick it from anywhere, he just needs to build up more confidence.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Regardless of how the season ended Walsh is still one of the better kickers in the NFL, will be even better indoors.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): If the Vikings are going to contend for the Super Bowl, special teams are just as important as offense and defense. Walsh is very good, but if the Vikings are going to be elite, a 27-yard field goal is a with the game on the line is a play an elite kicker and an elite team make.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): After his crucial miss, Blair Walsh has been negatively talked about during the entire offseason. Blair needs to bounce back and moving indoors should improve his kicking skills.
“To say that this upcoming season is the most important in Walsh’s career would be quite the understatement.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): He’s important, all right. Something tells me Walsh will be called on for a big playoff kick again this year. Can he bounce back?
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): To say that this upcoming season is the most important in Walsh’s career would be quite the understatement. With the Vikings moving into an indoor stadium this year, he should have plenty of opportunities to help Minnesota forget about the team’s worst missed field goal since Gary Anderson’s in 1998.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): The 2015 season was another solid one for Walsh. It did not end well for him despite accounting for all nine of the Vikings’ points scored in their heartbreaking 10-9 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Next season will be a big test for Walsh, as all eyes will be on the fifth-year kicker to see how he bounces back after what could potentially be a career-altering missed kick.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Forget the missed field goal against the Seattle Seahawks; Blair Walsh remains one of the best kickers in the NFL, and his ability to connect from deep makes him a significant asset to a Vikings team that wins by running the football and playing elite defense.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): Yep. He missed a very important kick that effectively ended the season. Get over it. Because Walsh certainly has, and I think he’ll prove that he has this season. He’s still one of the better kickers in the league.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): One kick isn’t going to define his career, he says. Soon enough he’ll be done talking about his big miss and will need to prove it. Moving into US Bank Stadium should certainly help his efforts.
18: Joe Berger, OL
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Minnesota’s best offensive lineman in 2016 may end up back on the bench. His position will be determined by John Sullivan’s health and recovery from back surgery.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): After a fantastic year filling in for John Sullivan, Berger could go back to being a reserve in 2016. While that’s kind of crappy for him, it’s great for Minnesota to have a valuable player who can step in and play when needed.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Berger flys under the radar of most Vikings fans. He was a great piece in a struggling Vikings offensive line all year and can play all along the interior.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Berger isn’t sexy but will continue to add the much needed depth along the offensive line.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): If John Sullivan is healthy, I can see Berger going back to that jack of all trades role he does so well. But if he needs to start again, the C position will be in good hands.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): Joe Berger was one of the few solid performers on the Vikings’ offense line. He can play multiple positions and might challenge for the starting center job if John Sullivan isn’t healthy.
“There are a lot of question marks on this offensive line and, right now, Berger isn’t among them.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): Berger proved more than just about anyone on the team in 2015. If he’s not starting at center, he’ll get meaningful work somewhere.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): A bit of a surprise in 2015, and arguably Minnesota’s offensive MVP, Berger cemented himself a spot on the Vikings roster for at least one more season. Even if he loses the starting center battle in training camp to John Sullivan, Berger will still remain a valuable asset for Minnesota to have on their roster.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): The only bright spot of an offensive line that performed well below expectations in 2015 was Berger. Finishing as Pro Football Focus’ top rated run blocking offensive lineman, it will be interesting to see the plan for him entering 2016. Playing at such an extremely high level last season, there’s no way you can just send him to the bench.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Joe Berger was quietly the Vikings’ best offensive lineman last year, but his role in 2016 remains in question. His relatively advanced age is a bit of a concern, but it’s hard to justify taking a guy out of the starting lineup that excelled both in pass protection and as a run-blocker just a year ago.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): Can you imagine what an unmitigated disaster the offensive line would have been without Berger stepping up to fill Sullivan’s void at center? No matter where he ends up along the interior line this season, chances are he’ll be just as reliable.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): There are a lot of question marks on this offensive line and, right now, Berger isn’t among them. You get what you see with Berger, and last year everyone liked what they saw.
17: Jerick McKinnon, RB
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): McKinnon is an electric football player who needs more touches in 2016. Norv Turner started to scheme for McKinnon late in the year last season, indicating the dynamic running back will fulfill my wishes (and the wishes of many fans).
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): As long as Adrian Peterson is a healthy member of the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnon will be an afterthought for many teams. Although he can be more reliable in the passing game, Peterson’s push for more playing time could see him riding the pine more often.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Watch this back dice up defenses with his quick cutting and pure speed. McKinnon will be the future at running back for the Vikings. He serves as scoring threat and a dynamic playmaker.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): McKinnon is flying under the radar as of now, but something tells me we are going to see more of him this year than we have combined in 2016.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): With Adrian Peterson probably playing his last year in Minnesota, 2016 will be a season long audition for McKinnon to see if he can, in fact, take over in the backfield next year.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): There is so much potential to use Jerick McKinnon in this offense. If they run more shotgun, McKinnon could be a huge threat. He needs to be on the field more this season.
“FREE MCKINNON! FREE MCKINNON!”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): There are only so many touches to go around, and having the MVP in the backfield makes it hard for McKinnon to carve out serious carries. Still, every time he gets the ball, I find myself thinking he needs to get it more.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): When the 2016 season is all said and done, McKinnon could end up as one of Minnesota’s most productive players on the offense. If that happens, maybe Vikings fans will then be less likely to scoff at the idea of trading Adrian Peterson next year.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): The secret star on the Vikings roster is RB Jerick McKinnon. Towards the latter half of last season, Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner began to scheme defenses to place the rising star all over the field. It was evident in Week 15 vs. the Chicago Bears and in the Week 17, NFC North-clinching win against the Green Bay Packers.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Sharing the backfield with Adrian Peterson has meant limited reps for Jerick McKinnon, but his versatility, implausible strength relative to his size and play-making ability make him a home-run threat anytime he is on the field. If the Vikings boast a more balanced offensive attack this upcoming season, McKinnon could produce a breakout season.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): FREE MCKINNON! FREE MCKINNON! And it doesn’t have to be at the cost of AP’s snaps either! I’d love to see Norv Turner get more creative with how they get Jet the ball this season. Split backs, putting McKinnon in the slot, end arounds, fake reverses — whatever it is, he has earned it.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): Tell me “Jet” doesn’t add a dimension or two to this offense. His homerun abilities make him too valuable to keep off the field, with or without Adrian Peterson gobbling up the lion’s share of carries.
16: Brian Robison, DE
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Rotation, rotation, rotation. Robison’s role will decrease in 2016, but he’ll be a vital part of Zimmer’s many defensive rotations this season.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): Robison is another year older, but should be kicking things up a notch since Hunter is hot on his heels for a starting job. Hopefully, the competition brings out the best in the veteran defensive end and he excels in 2016.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Robison is a longtime Viking and is perhaps the heart and soul of the defense. He is hungry for a championship and is ready to bring one to the Twin Cities.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Robison is the seasoned vet along the defensive line and could give away some snaps this year to Hunter, but he will continue to be reliable and get his share of pressures/sacks.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): I can see Robison’s role on the field reduced some, but he’s still got a lot left in the tank, and will be a solid veteran presence on this team.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): The veteran leader of the defensive line is coming to the end of his career. He probably won’t play as many snaps with the emergence of Danielle Hunter.
“…still more than capable of impacting the game both as a pass-rusher and as a run-stopper.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): Robison is one of the more underrated players on the team, and still has a few good years left. Whether he starts or not, he’ll contribute to what should a dynamite front seven.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): One of the oldest players on Minnesota’s young roster, Robison still finds a way to contribute on defense. He may not have the flashiest statistics, but his scrappiness and willingness to make sacrifices for the betterment of the defense is what makes Robison so valuable to the Vikings.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): Another one of the long-time Viking veterans, Robison enters his 10th season in Minnesota. With the emergence and growth of Danielle Hunter, Robison’s role will likely decrease even more next season.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): At 33 years old, Brian Robison isn’t the player he once was, but he is still more than capable of impacting the game both as a pass-rusher and as a run-stopper.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): I have two defensive ends ranked ahead of B-Rob on my list, which means I see his role and playing time getting reduced this year. That said, he’ll still be an important contributor to one of the deepest and most dangerous defensive lines in the league.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): Rick Spielman once had to choose between Robison and Ray Edwards, and thank goodness he picked correctly. Robison might be on the losing end of one of those choices in the near future, given the emergence of Danielle Hunter, but his veteran presence should give him another season to add to his Viking legacy.
15: Laquon Treadwell, WR
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Treadwell will start from Day One and provide Minnesota’s offense with everything departed disappointment Mike Wallace could not.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): As a first round draft pick, expectations are astronomical for Treadwell. However, fans should temper their projections until it is seen how he fits in the offensive system and what kind of rapport he can develop with Bridgewater.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Hopes are high for the rookie wideout. Treadwell should provide Bridgewater with an enormous target and a consistent downfield threat. He equates to points for the Vikings.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Treadwell should push for a starting spot early in the year, look for a few growing pains in his rookie campaign but also look for some big plays to give optimism to an improving group of receivers.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): The Vikings’ passing attack needs some major improvement, and Treadwell will be one of the keys as to whether or not it does. Personally, I think he plays a huge role in this offense.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): Laquon Treadwell will need to transition to the NFL level. He has the skill-set and if he can produce, it could be a game-changer for the Vikings’ offense.
“Give me strong hands and ball skills over straight-line speed seven days a week.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): Give me strong hands and ball skills over straight-line speed seven days a week. I don’t buy the Treadwell knocks, and think he was a steal late in round one. Treadwell/Diggs/Wright (in some order) should be a nice three-deep.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): The rookie wide receiver comes into the 2016 season with some pretty high expectations. But If everything works out as planned, he could end up becoming the third Vikings wide receiver since 1998 to be named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): The Vikings player I’m most excited to watch entering 2016, Treadwell is exactly what the Vikings’ offense lacked last season. The team’s first round selection gives QB Teddy Bridgewater a reliable, big target that dominates at the catch point. With the team’s offensive struggles, Treadwell could potentially solve the porous redzone woes.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): There are plenty of questions still to be answered regarding Laquon Treadwell, but his size and physicality are welcome additions to a Vikings offense that has desperately missed a receiver with his tools since the departure of Sidney Rice. He has the potential to become a go-to option for Teddy Bridgewater as a rookie — especially in the red zone.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): Treadwell’s “limitations” have been well-documented, but I think he’ll be a better fit with the Vikings than he would have been with most teams. He should be an important part of the Vikings’ offense right off the bat.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): The rookie wide out has high expectations following him around this offseason and Vikings fans hope to see him immediately put fear into the hearts of opposing secondaries with a consistent and dangerous presence.
14: Captain Munnerlyn, CB
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Munnerlyn was my favorite cornerback on the roster last season, and Zimmer will continue to get the most out of the diminutive defender. Expect Munnerlyn to start the season in the slot, even with Mackensie Alexander breathing down his neck.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): For the first time in many years, Munnerlyn will likely see his playing time sliced because of talent at cornerback. Still, he could be an impact player in rotation or situational roles, especially if injuries decimate the secondary.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Munnerlyn helps make up the identity of the Vikings defense. He can make plays both in defending the run and pass. Not to mention, he is quite the ball hawk.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Munnerlyn will continue to see the field quite a bit in 2016, but will have guys like Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander pushing him for time.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): He regained his reputation as the best slot corner in the NFL, and what had been a weak spot on the Vikings for years is now, finally, a position of strength.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): Captain Munnerlyn had a bounce back season and finally bought into the system. However, I would like to see some more consistency from him in 2016.
“Munnerlyn can stay settled into the nickel role where he was fantastic last season.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): I wasn’t as enamored with Munnerlyn’s 2015 as most, but he’s at the very least a solid nickel back. That position is getting crowded, though, so we’ll see how the playing time gets divvyed up in what is likely Munnerlyn’s last year in purple.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): Could this be Munnerlyn’s last season with the Vikings? Even though Minnesota drafted his potential replacement ]this year, Munnerlyn is not going to give up his spot on the team without a dog fight.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): After struggling in his first season in head coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme, Munnerlyn bounced back to put together a solid 2015 season. Entering the last year of his contract, and his potential replacement already on the roster in rookie Mackensie Alexander, the pressure is on for Munnerlyn to continue his solid play as a nickel CB.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Following an unproductive first season in Minnesota, Captain Munnerlyn rebounded in 2015, proving once again that he is among the best nickel cornerbacks in the NFL. Facing a contract year with Mackensie Alexander breathing down his neck, Munnerlyn should be expected to turn in another quality season for the Vikings.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): Captain’s first year in Minnesota was underwhelming, but he was exactly what the secondary needed next year. He’ll need to keep that high level of play going, because if he doesn’t he’ll lose snaps to either Mackensie Alexander or Trae Waynes.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): With an overflow of talent and potential at the outside corner spots, Munnerlyn can stay settled into the nickel role where he was fantastic last season.
13: Danielle Hunter, DE
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Reports indicate that Hunter’s put on even more muscle this offseason, which seems impossible. The über-athletic defensive end should be a starter early into the season.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): It’s fun watching Danielle Hunter evolve into a pass rushing demon. It will be difficult for Brian Robison to hold off the athletic freak of nature for a starting gig, but that baton will likely not be passed this season.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Hunter was an exciting rookie talent for the Vikings in 2016. He sacked the quarterback six times off the bench! Imagine his production as a starter.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): All eyes wil be on Hunter in 2016 to see if he can continue to improve on his rookie season, don’t be surprised if he puts up 10+ sacks this year.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): I expect a bigger role in the d-line rotation for Hunter in 2016, and won’t be surprised if he ends up starting.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): One of the biggest surprises from 2015 was Danielle Hunter. His raw athleticism should develop even more this season with another year of coaching.
“It’s fun watching Danielle Hunter evolve into a pass rushing demon.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): I’ve planted my “Danielle Hunter 2016 breakout” flag pretty hard, and I had him ranked higher than this. He is waiting to be unleashed.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): One of the few Vikings players who could break out and make name for himself in 2016. Hunter will look to become an even more integral part of Minnesota’s defense next season.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): Considered the biggest surprise of the 2015 Vikings draft class, look for Hunter’s reps to increase significantly as the 2016 season progresses. The second-year defensive end will likely be a starter by mid-season, taking over for the aging Brian Robison.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): We saw only a glimpse of what Danielle Hunter may be capable of during his rookie season. With his Greek god-like physique and explosive athleticism, the sky is the limit for the former third-round draft pick.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): Hunter will challenge Brian Robison for the starting role at left end, and I’m not sure he’s any sort of underdog in that competition. At any rate, the Vikings have to love what they’ve seen from Hunter so far, and it is scary to think that there is still some untapped potential behind that facemask.
12: Alex Boone, G
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Boone brings a proven veteran’s track record to Minnesota, where he’ll step in and immediately improve a porous left side of the offensive line.
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): Boone should be a significant addition to the offensive line, as he brings a tough mindset to the offensive line. Also, his play should help make things easier on Matt Kalil, who struggled with Brandon Fusco next to him last year.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Boone was just recently nabbed by Minnesota in free agency. He brings the pure talent and nastiness the Vikings need to create better lanes for Adrian Peterson.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): Boooooooooooooooone! Already a fan favorite and rightfully so, big expectations for him in 2016 and hopefully his play can improve Mr. Kalil’s as well.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): His signing was the first to improve both the quality and depth on the o-line, and was probably the off-season’s biggest free agency move.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): Alex Boone is going to be the enforcer and leader of the offensive line. His play on the offensive line should improve the Vikings’ pass protection and run blocking.
“Alex Boone is going to be the enforcer and leader of the offensive line.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): I simply cannot wait to see Boone on the field for the Vikings. I probably overhype his ability but I don’t care; Boone’s attitude will be a godsend for the offensive line.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): Arguably the best free agent brought in by the Vikings this offseason, Minnesota should see a major improvement to the left side of their offensive line with the addition of Boone.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): Arguably the Vikings’ biggest free agent acquisition, Boone will bring the nastiness, toughness and swagger that the Vikings offensive line lacked in 2015. Boone will not only help keep QB Teddy Bridgewater upright, but he will help LT Matt Kalil as well.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Alex Boone brings an excellent track record and plenty of intensity over from the San Francisco 49ers. He could prove to be the Vikings’ best offensive lineman in 2016.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): In 2012, he made Pro Football Focus’ 2nd team All-NFL. Last year they ranked him the 38th best guard. The good news: he should still have plenty left in the tank, and he probably can’t be any worse than Fusco was last year.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): He isn’t the perfect guard that Vikings fans hope he’ll be, but he should easily be a giant upgrade over what we saw last year. At the very least, the signing gives Matt Kalil a new excuse total of exactly zero.
11: Kyle Rudolph, TE
Austin Belisle (@austincbelisle): Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target should thrive in an offense set to explode in 2016. *Crosses fingers that the offensive line stays healthy and Bridgewater takes the next step*
Adam Carlson (@MNVikingZombie): A healthy Kyle Rudolph could be a reliable red-zone target for Teddy Bridgewater, but he’ll have to prove that he can break 500 receiving yards or 10 touchdowns in a season for the first time in his career.
Austin Erwin (@austin_erwin): Rudolph serves as a valuable red zone target for Teddy Bridgewater. Hopefully he can stay healthy in 2016 to give the Vikings an extra scoring threat.
Matt Falk (@Matt_Falk): I would expect Rudolph to put up his usual 45-55 receptions and continue to be one of the better tight ends in the NFC.
Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye): I have a nagging feeling that this is going to be a ‘put up or shut up’ year for Rudolph. With talent behind him that could push him for playing time, the time is now for Rudolph, one would think.
Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL): Kyle Rudolph showed flashes last season, but still needs to prove he can be an elite target in this offense. This is going to be a huge year for him.
“I have a nagging feeling that this is going to be a ‘put up or shut up’ year for Rudolph.”
Sam Neumann (@NeumSamN): Oddly enough, Rudolph’s best season came with Christian Ponder throwing the ball. Injuries have consistently hampered his performance, but even in a mostly healthy 2015, he had a relatively pedestrian 49 receptions and five touchdowns. He’s a weapon that needs to be utilized more.
Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey): Two years in a Norv Turner offense and Rudolph has yet to live up to the expectations he was given when Turner was hired. However, the new additions to the Vikings’ offensive line could actually free up Rudolph and allow him to have more of a contribution to Minnesota’s 2016 passing attack.
Jordan Reid (@JReidDraftScout): Some consider him a disappointment since signing a five-year, $36.5 million extension in 2014, but despite mixed opinions on Rudolph, he will still be penciled in as the Vikings starting tight end for the foreseeable future.
BJ Reidell (@RobertReidellBT): Kyle Rudolph has the necessary physical tools and multidimensional skill set to be a premier tight end in the NFL, but injuries and strange mental lapses have held him back. Maybe 2016 will finally be the year that he is able to put together a complete season.
Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson): We’re five years in and Rudy has yet to break 500 yards in a season. His size, ability, and (perhaps most important) contract all say he should be putting up much bigger numbers. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target underneath and higher on this list next year.
Adam Warwas (@vikingterritory): Needs to stay healthy and put some more zip in his routes, but the big red zone threat stands to be a big part of the gameplan as Week 1 approaches. Here’s hoping an improved offensive line sees the passing game, including to Rudolph, much more productive.