Monday, April 27, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "kyle rudolph"

kyle rudolph

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Kyle Rudolph is broken.

He’s missed 16 games in four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, and before that, 9 in three seasons at Notre Dame. In 2013, it was a broken left foot. In 2014, it was a combination of freak injuries, from torn abdominal muscles to an MCL strain.

In a March phone interview with Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, Rudolph expressed his frustration with the nagging injuries:

“I’d like to think no one in the league works harder than I do to stay healthy and take care of my body, but the bottom line is I haven’t been, and the only way to get rid of those questions is to play 16 games.”

After signing a five-year contract extension worth up to $40 million in the 2014 offseason, Rudolph failed to live up to expensive expectations — his $19.4 million in guaranteed money made him the second-highest paid tight end in the league behind Jimmy Graham. Even after shedding 16 pounds and getting faster in preparation for Norv Turner’s Air Coryell offense, Rudolph spent more time on the sidelines than in the end zone, missing almost half of the Vikings’ games last season.

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Last week we talked all about defense, so you can guess where we’re headed this week …

Which Offensive Player will Have the Most Standout Season for the Vikings in 2015?

Lindsey: Teddy Bridgewater
From Day 1, I’ve been a Bridgewater believer. I was pumped when we drafted him, and last season just affirmed his potential. Bridgewater got thrown into the fire last year when Cassel got injured, and the AP fiasco didn’t make things any easier. However, the QB still finished with incredibly solid numbers for a rookie: 2,919 passing yards, a 64.4 percent completion rate and only three fumbles. Bridgewater has a quiet confidence about him, and he’s not easily rattled. He grew his confidence in a rocky 2014 situation, and I expect him to come out ready to rock for 2015.

Andy: Kyle Rudolph
People always talk about how Norv’s offense being so “tight end friendly.” If Rudy can stay healthy for a full season, I think he and Teddy will do some good things together and he’ll make his extension look like a bargain. A lot of variables, but we all believe Rudolph has the ability to be a top-five tight end in the league. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. Plus, we know Teddy loves his tight ends. #Reisner

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There has been a lot of talk around receivers for the Vikings, especially since the release of Greg Jennings and signing of Mike Wallace. It seems appropriate, then, for Round 3 of Question of the Week:

Who Will Lead the Vikings in Receiving (Catches, Yards & TDs) this Year?

Brent:  Catches: Charles Johnson | Yards: Mike Wallace | TDs: Kyle Rudolph
I think Johnson will continue to be Teddy’s favorite target, mainly because he’ll thrive in the mid-range routes—where Teddy is awesome. Wallace will rack up a lot of yards via deep passes, but he won’t prove to be a significant red zone target. Rudolph’s size and consistent hands will make him a favorite for touchdowns within striking distance. The TE will be used more heavily than last year—as it has in years past in Norv’s offense.


Carl: 
Catches: Charles Johnson | Yards: Mike Wallace | TDs: Mike Wallace
Johnson’s 15.3 yards per catch on 31 receptions in 2014 was impressive to say the least, but Wallace shouldn’t have any problem racking up yards in Turner’s vertical offense. My guess is the targets will be balanced between multiple players, but yardage will be owned by Wallace especially if Adrian comes with a chip on his shoulder.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer is a no-nonsense, football-first head coach. When Zimmer took over a sinking ship for the Vikings in 2014, he inherited a young team coming off a 5-10-1 record the previous year. Things changed quickly, as players bought into Zimmer’s mentality and rookies like Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr performed well in key moments.

Early Thursday morning, Zimmer addressed the media at the NFL Scouting Combine, elaborating on his debut 7-9 season and looking ahead to 2015.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the fourth article, focusing on the tight ends.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview hererunning backs are here, and the fullbacks are here.]

In theory, the Vikings have their tight end depth chart pretty much set.  They have the powerful veteran in Kyle Rudolph, the semi-proven backup in Chase Ford, and the journeyman blocker in Rhett Ellison.  They also have some camp fodder in Ryan Otten.

Rudolph just signed a huge deal that runs through 2018 and is highly unlikely to go anywhere.  Ford is entering a contract year, but is inexpensive and likely to be a restricted free agent in 2016, so there is no real reason to actively oust him from the Vikings roster.

Ellison is also fairly cheap, with a 2015 cap hit of $735,146, and appears like a guy the Vikings want to lock up for the long-term.  While unspectacular within the offense, Ellison is a great blocking tight end and solid special teams player.

The Vikings seem highly unlikely to spend heavily on the tight end position this offseason, with actual value more likely to be found in the Draft for a talent worth bringing aboard, but let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

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