A Longtime Viking Appears to Be Done Playing Football

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There is just over one week remaining before the Vikings come back to Minnesota to begin the journey of the 2023 season. The next step is training camp. All rookies – including their top pick Jordan Addison – are scheduled to arrive in Eagan on July 23rd, and the veterans get two more days off but should be back on the 25th. It appears as if one longtime Viking will not be part of the NFL circus anymore.

A Longtime Viking Appears to Be Done Playing Football

appears to be done
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Tight end Kyle Rudolph may have quietly called it a career. The 2011 second-round selection of the Minnesota Vikings has not officially retired from the NFL but it sure looks like it. He will call games in the booth for NBC. Rudolph has already made his first broadcast appearance when he called Notre Dame’s spring game that streamed on Peacock in April and he called some USFL contests.

His ties to his alma mater Notre Dame helped the tight end to secure his next gig, as he told The Athletic: “One-hundred percent. It was without question the reason why,” the tight end explained, “I’m an anomaly, played 12 years in the NFL before starting my next chapter, but Notre Dame was still there opening doors and giving me opportunities.”

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph catches the winning touchdown over New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams in overtime on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Minnesota Vikings Vs New Orleans Saints. © Elizabeth Flores, Tribune News Service, Elmira Star-Gazette via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

That surely sounds like he’s ready to turn the page, although he has not put out an official retirement announcement yet. Rudolph has never been a guy that tried to be the center of attention.

In his 12-year career, Rudolph played ten seasons for the Vikes, one for the New York Giants, and one with Tom Brady for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his ten years in Minnesota, Rudolph was one of the most reliable players in all of football, playing in 140 games, catching 453 passes for 4,488 yards and 48 touchdowns. That ranks him second in yards and catches in Vikings franchise history among tight ends, only trailing Steve Jordan.

The 48 scores rank him at the top at his position, and fifth in general. From 2015 to 2019, Rudolph didn’t miss a single game and started 81 consecutive games, the most among tight ends in franchise history. He was a Pro Bowler in 2012 and 2017. Only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski recorded more receiving TDs during his time in Minnesota.

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After the Vikings released their longtime starter, he joined the Giants where he only caught 26 passes for 257 yards and 1 TD in his lone season there. One season later at age 33, Rudolph played with Brady but barely made an impact. He appeared in only nine games and caught 3 passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. That one score in Tampa Bay turned out to be Brady’s last regular season touchdown pass.

A big part of Rudolph’s legacy in Minnesota is his charitable work. He was named the Vikings Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee three times.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. 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