Sunday, March 1, 2015
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kyle rudolph

Kyle Rudolph at Cowboys 11/3/13
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

The hits just keep on coming. Kyle Rudolph, who was injured on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder in the third quarter of yesterday’s game against the Cowboys, could be out for a month with a fractured foot.

“I think the guy just fell on his foot when he was tackling him,” Frazier said. “It’s a very significant injury for him and for our team. That gives some other guys a chance to step up. Chase Ford, who played in the ballgame and did a good job for us, he’ll play. John Carlson will get more reps now.”

Though the amount Rudolph has been utilized this season has left something to be desired amongst many Vikings fans hoping for a big year, the loss of one of Ponder’s favorite redzone targets still hurts. As Frazier stated above, this will mean that John Carlson, the Vikings $25 million back-up tight end, will get more playing time.

Phil Loadholt, who suffered a concussion Sunday, did not practice today.

Other Vikings players who did not practice and are now dealing with injuries include: Fred Evans, Jamarca Sanford, Xavier Rhodes, Letroy Guion, Rhett Ellison and Charlie Johnson.

 

Kyle Rudolph TD Carolina
Photo provided courtesy of Vikings.com

Finding a positive word to write after the Vikings were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday is a daunting task, even for an optimist like me.

My mother taught me; if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

Well, I can’t just leave this blog blank, can I? No, I need to find a ray of light in this dark Vikings’ cellar I am stuck in. It’s a deep, damp hole for sure, but I do see a glimmer of light shining down on the Vikings’ 6-foot-6 TE, Kyle Rudolph.

We’re burning our way through the offense, and Carl will top it off by previewing the offensive line tomorrow morning, and there has been a theme throughout this “Camp Battles” feature:  Most of the competition involves the bottom of the depth chart.  The tight end position is really not much different as there projects to be very little movement near the top of the positional depth chart.

Kyle Rudolph doubled his catch total (53) in his sophomore season,  while nearly doubling his receiving yards (493) and he tripled his touchdown mark (nine).  Rudolph has been one of Christian Ponder’s favorite targets since day one and he projects to be one of the league’s better tight ends in 2013.  Not only will he remain atop the Vikings depth chart, I highly recommend adding him to your fantasy team, as well.

The oversized contract of John Carlson was restructured this offseason which should help him remain on the roster.  The Vikings signed him hoping to replicate some of the success that other teams, namely the Patriots, had been experiencing with two pass catching tight ends on the field.  “Underwhelming” is a kind way of describing Carlson’s 2012 season with the Vikings.  He only notched eight catches for 43 totals yards.  He threw a number of nice blocks throughout the season, but that wasn’t enough to keep him from being a running joke within Viking-fan circles.

To shake things up a little this weekend I decided to solicit questions from the audience for the first time in a long time.  As the Draft approaches, there is always an increase in questions from those that for some reason find this hack blogger’s opinion to be relevant, and I wanted to give the opportunity to ask as many as possible before the pre-Draft craziness fully sets in.  Below are the results.

There have been some recent questions about our tradition of our Draft Weekend Live Chat and whether it will live on in 2013.

Our normal software avenue has decided to start charging for their services.  They are now charging by the number of readers that use the live chat services and VT has really started to take off recently, which is a great problem to have, and we expect thousands of people to visit our site on Draft Weekend.  This means it could be a pretty expensive proposition for this little blog to consider.

Still, Brett and I are currently evaluating alternatives, and we are sure to come up with something.

One of our loyal readers very generously offered to set up a chat room for us here at VT free-of-charge and we’ve been testing it out.  There are some pros and cons to it, and it won’t look as slick as what you’ve grown used to, but I think it will get the job done.  Stay tuned!

A number of people asked about us updating our mock drafts and releasing some sort of positional rankings prior to the Draft.

Yes, my mock will be updated at least once (probably more) prior to the draft taking place.  I’m hoping to find the time to add a second round fairly soon, as well.

I am also working on creating a VT-unique “Big Board” of about 300 players.  Last year Brett worked hard to make our Big Board update somewhat instantly as the Draft progressed, crossing off players as they were selected on Draft Weekend.  Preferably we’ll be able to get something like that together again.  That’s the goal.

Okay, now onto some more interesting questions.  SKOL12 wanted to know what type of defensive tackle the Vikings are in need of.  Do they need a big run stuffer, and athletic pass rusher, or someone a little more balanced?

I think it is clear that the Vikings don’t have a massive run stuffer and could benefit from grabbing one like John Jenkins or Jesse Williams.  Given the age, possible regression, and heavy cap hit of Kevin Williams I also can’t see the downside of drafting a very well balanced defensive tackle like Sylvester Williams.  With the Vikings defense struggling greatly against mobile quarterbacks last season, and about 10 of them on the schedule this season, getting more athletic in the middle of the defense needs to be a priority, as well, which is why a guy like Sheldon Richardson appeals to me so much.

Ideally, Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard can step up to the plate in 2013, and Kevin Williams regains some of his previous spark.  That might be a lot to bank on, however, and the Vikings need to add some competition via the Draft regardless of the type of lineman they are eyeballing.

Reader SB wants to know if trading up into the late teens to grab Sheldon Richardson would appeal to me if it only costs a fourth or fifth rounder to pull off.

Yes!  I consider Richardson to be a special talent and any team in that range will be interested in him.  It will likely cost a lot more than that to move up in the first round, but if this deal presented itself I would certainly move up and get my guy.

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It wasn’t Adrian Peterson that dazzled a Pro Bowl crowd last night.  Instead, it was tight end Kyle Rudolph who was only there as an alternate selection.

Rudolph took home the Pro Bowl MVP award after catching five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

There is no denying that, despite the league’s best players being present for the contest, the level of competition at the Pro Bowl is never quite the same as in a meaningful NFL game.  Still, I couldn’t help watching Rudolph create mismatches by running seam routes and wonder why he isn’t used in that capacity more often within Bill Musgrave’s offense.  I know I beat that dead horse multiple times during the 2012 season, but I just couldn’t help but feel reminded one final time by Rudolph’s dominant performance on Sunday.

Rudolph wasn’t the only Vikings to see action in the exhibition game.  Adrian Peterson carried the ball five times for only 13 yards, but most notably botched an exchange with Drew Brees on the first play of the game, which was recovered by the AFC.

Peterson’s lead blocker Jerome Felton somehow managed to have a better game than Peterson which, of course, could really only happen in Hawaii.  Felton carried the ball four times for 18 yards, including a three yard touchdown.

Alternate Matt Kalil saw time at both right and left tackle, giving up a sack to Cameron Wake at one point, but otherwise playing a solid game.

Blair Walsh continued to show his ability to put points on the scoreboard with eight extra points made and by hitting field goals from 26 and 48 yards out.

On defense, Jared Allen managed one tackle and Chad Greenway had two.  Greenway also recovered a fumble.

Most importantly, the Vikings escaped the faux football game without any injuries which is an even bigger victory than the 62-35 whooping that the NFC put on the AFC.

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