Say It Ain’t So, Kyle Rudolph.

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Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has registered more touchdown receptions (50) in his career than Mike Ditka, Kellen Winslow, Todd Heap, Mark Bavaro, and Zach Ertz — men considered pretty damn good at their position.

He ranks 14th all-time in touchdown catches by a tight end and 44th in TE receiving yards.

Say It Ain’t So, Kyle Rudolph.

And according to The Athletic, it seems Rudolph’s career statistics will remain idle as the Notre Dame alumnus is on tap to call Big 10 games in the commentating booth this season.

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.

The Athletic’s Pete Sampson wrote this week about Notre Dame and Rudolph, “Rudolph said he’ll call select Big Ten games for NBC this fall, steps toward a life after playing football. It’s the kind of path Notre Dame wants designed. It’s one NBC hopes to pave.”

Of course, Rudolph did not explicitly retire this offseason, but a transition to the booth on Saturdays implies his NFL career is kaput.

Longtime Vikings TE Returns
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The Vikings drafted Rudolph in Round 2 of the NFL Draft 12 years ago, stabilizing the position in Minnesota for a decade. He played for the Vikings from 2011 to 2020, departing in free agency two years ago to join the Giants. In New York, Rudolph was underutilized, receiving just 39 targets in 2021 with an offense that would later undergo structural change. The Giants canned head coach Joe Judge after the 2021 season, opting for the services of Brian Daboll, who was the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills when Josh Allen rose to power. Those Giants knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs six months ago.

In Tampa Bay, Rudolph was hardly used. Playing in nine games while starting none, the Notre Dame alumnus was targeted just five times all season in a year that turned out to be Tom Brady’s last hurrah — and apparently Rudolph’s.

Don't Rule Out Vikings + Kyle Rudolph Reunion
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Overall with the Vikings, Rudolph grabbed 453 receptions for 4,488 yards and 49 touchdowns, nominating him as one of the Vikings best draft picks of the decade. Rudolph also caught the pass that walked off the New Orleans Saints in the 2019 postseason.

Last summer, Rudolph expressed interest in rejoining the Vikings before landing in Tampa Bay, speaking to KFAN’s Paull Allen, “It would definitely interest me. This is home for us. Certainly, it would make life a lot easier for my wife and four kids to stay in the house that we live in here. This place is extremely special to us. That organization is special to us.”

Kyle Rudolph Chooses the NFC's Super Bowl Frontrunner
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“To be able to come back and have an opportunity to play there again and fight to accomplish the only goal that I never accomplished as a Viking, win a championship, that would be great. But we’ll see,” Rudolph added.

For now, any reunion with the Vikings would likely involve formal retirement with the club. Rudolph told The Athletic in the same interview, “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.”

Rudolph played more games (140) for the Vikings than Joey Browner, Anthony Carter, Tommy Kramer, Bryant McKinnie, Adrian Peterson, and Adam Thielen.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by