Sunday, April 19, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "kyle rudolph"

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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One of the, umm, “benefits” of not playing in the Super Bowl is that you might just qualify for a free trip to Hawaii to play in the season’s most meaningless football game.

The Vikings will be well represented during Sunday’s Pro Bowl.  We have already noted that Adrian Peterson, Jerome Felton, Jared Allen, and Chad Greenway will be playing.

Another alternate has made the final cut, however.  Tight end Tony Gonzalez played a hard fought game, possibly his last ever, on Sunday and will not be filling his roster spot on the NFC’s all-star squad in Honolulu.

Instead, alternate Kyle Rudolph will be suiting up.

The second-year tight end recorded 53 catches for 493 yards in his second season, doubling the number of catches from his rookie season.  He was also second among NFL tight ends with nine touchdowns, tripling his total from last year.

I have had a hectic week and while I fully intended to produce a full “Preview” segment like normal, but I ran out of time.  I still wanted to get something up in advance of this game, however, as it stands to be a turning point type of matchup for this 2012 Vikings team.

It could be a turn for the best, but it could also be a turn for the worst.

Here are five items I consider to be the most important this afternoon:

1.  Time To Go To Bat

Seattle’s starting rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has, thus far in his young career, overcome the pre-Draft knock on him that he is too short.  It is time for that to stop.  Wilson has been an impressive rookie in an already impressive class of quarterbacks, but the Vikings must game plan to shut him down despite the absence of cornerback Chris Cook.

One way they can do that is to use their big defensive linemen to get into the throwing lanes and get their hands in the air.  Brian Robison put on a clinic last week in terms of batting passes, and Jared Allen and Kevin Williams have both made highlight reels in the past by doing this, so we know this isn’t an original idea for the Vikings defense.

Wilson is short.  He may be succeeding anyways, but his passes are more susceptible to being batted down at the line of scrimmage… that is just physics.  The Vikings need to give their secondary some help by employing the long arms of Robison and company this afternoon.

2.  Tackle Well, Live Longer

The Vikings cannot completely stop Seahawk’s running back Marshawn Lynch, but they can endeavor to contain him.

The “Beast” will not be contained, however, if the Vikings continue to tackle (or, perhaps, not tackle) the way they have been the last three weeks.  They missed 17 tackles last week, which resulted in Doug Martin’s monster game on Thursday Night Football.

Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley, and Erin Henderson have their work cut out for them this week as they face the running back who is closest to Adrian Peterson for the NFL rushing lead.

3.  Run, Run, Run… and then Run Some More

I’m going to skip the Ponder-doubting that has overwhelmed Vikings Nation in the past few weeks.

Instead, I want to remember a Kansas City team that a few years ago won a significant amount of football game by embracing their stellar running game to the fullest.  Remember when the Chiefs ran Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones on what seemed like every down, including fourth, to move the chains in a safe and time-consuming manner?  I want to see that type of dedication to the run game with the Vikings, who are very well built to do it.

The best way to win this game, and shut up that damned 12th man, is to shove Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart down their throats for seven minutes at a time.

4.  Start Utilizing Rudolph… For Real

Second year tight end Kyle Rudolph is having a decent season, particularly in terms of touchdown catches.  However, I think there is still plenty of untapped potential here.

The Seahawks boast a number of young, high-quality cornerbacks and that could spell trouble for mediocre performers like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins.

Getting the ball to Percy Harvin is always a must, but Rudolph needs to start being utilized more in the every down passing game.  He needs to be running seam routes and he needs to be a threat no matter where the Vikings are on the field.

Feed him the ball, Musgrave.

5.  Special Teams Must Be Special Today

Most of you probably think I’m going to talk about Percy Harvin’s returns or Blair Walsh’s big leg, and that is certainly part of it.

I think both of these teams, however, have very dangerous threats on special teams and the biggest point of emphasis needs to be the Vikings ability to play mistake-free football on the coverage unit.  Leon Washington has a habit of embarrassing opponents, and plllllease Football Gods… don’t let it be the Vikings.

PREDICTION:

I think another close one is in store for us here, and I worry about the outcome, but I still think this Vikings team will be 6-3 in a few hours.  As long as common sense is utilized by the Vikings coaching staff, and the players execute like we know they can, they can come out of this game with another win.

My prediction:  22-17, Vikings

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