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TE Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings

6-6, 259Born: 11-9-1989College: Notre DameDrafted: Round 2

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Photo: John Rieger, US Presswire

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News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 28): Rudolph took advantage of one of the league's softest defenses on tight ends and the absence of Stefon Diggs to post a solid week. He's back in TE1 consideration against the Cowboys this week.

Week 13: vs Dallas Cowboys

All TE vs DAL

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Both of these teams played on Thanksgiving, so they've had an equal amount of time to recover in time for this Thursday night game. Sam Bradford threw a lot of completions at Detroit (31/37) but couldn't find a big scoring play, with 224 yards passing, zero TDs and one interception thrown, despite taking zero sacks. Kyle Rudolph led the team in receiving with 10 targets for 9/64/0 receiving, while Adam Thielen handled 11 targets for 8/53/0 receiving, and Jerick McKinnon was third in receiving with three targets for 3/45/0. Last week was the first game this year that Bradford hasn't thrown at least one TD - but he's only thrown multiple TDs (two) on three occasions this year. Bradford has thrown 248/348 fr 2,415 yards, 12 TDs and three interceptions this season (with 11 rushes for -3 yards). The Cowboy's pass defense was blown up for 449 net yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions (with zero sacks) by Kirk Cousins and company last weekend; two games ago the Dallas pass defense allowed 23/35 for 267 net yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions (with one sack for -2 yards) to Joe Flacco. They haven't been shutting down the opposition of late - from Week Nine to Week 12 of the 2016 season (over the last four weeks, but includes 14 teams on bye during that time span - each team has at least three games played in the last four weeks), Dallas has averaged 25.1 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (seventh-most in the NFL); and 27.4 fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers (seventh-most); with 10.9 fantasy points given up per game to tight ends (fourth-most). It's pretty easy to score fantasy points on this secondary entering the final weeks of 2016. Advantage, Bradford and the Vikings. Also, the rushing matchup is bad for McKinnon and Matt Asiata, so look for the Vikings to lean on Bradford and his passing arm quite a bit again in this game.

Recent Stats and Projections

9 vs DET 65 1 1 1 0 6.1
10 at WAS 57 5 69 1 0 12.9
11 vs ARI 55 2 12 0 0 1.2
12 at DET 52 9 64 0 0 6.4
13 vs DAL PROJ-Dodds * 4 * * * *
13 vs DAL PROJ-Tremblay * 4 * * * *
13 vs DAL PROJ-Bloom * 5 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 12 vs DET (10 / 9 / 64 / 0 rec)

Rudolph had a season high nine catches, but that didn't translate into equitable production. The Vikings barely tried to stretch the field, which limited what Rudolph could do. So far it does seem as if new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur isn't in a hurry to use Rudolph much, and between the bad offensive line and lack of run game, the defense has nothing to do but cover anyone going out on a pass route.

2016 Week 11 vs ARI (3 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)

Rudolph's biggest play didn't count as he made a nice catch on a 12-yard touchdown pass which was nullified by a penalty. He was otherwise shockingly quiet, especially given that Stefon Diggs was such a non-factor in the first half, but his use over the last few games have been inconsistent and it's hard not to feel as if the offense is not working hard enough to get him open on a regular basis.

2016 Week 10 vs WAS (8 / 5 / 69 / 1 rec)

For the first time in several weeks, Rudolph saw more than a handful of targets . Rudolph's two biggest plays were catch-and-run plays (both for 20 yard gains), one where he cut across the middle and then turned upfield, dragging some defenders for the last few yards. The other, a touchdown, saw him wide open along the sideline on a simple out pattern. He caught the ball and then, with a few nice blocks from receivers, ran up the sideline for a game-tying score.

2016 Week 9 vs DET (3 / 1 / 1 / 1 rec)

Rudolph scored on a very bizarre call by the defense. On the play at the goal line, the Lions sent everyone but the safety and a cornerback, who peeled off with a receiver. The Vikings were in a bunch formation with Rudolph on the right side of the line and he engaged one defender very briefly and then ran into the end zone where there was no defender waiting. It was easy for Bradford to find him for a score.

2016 Week 8 vs CHI (6 / 5 / 31 / 0 rec)

With the offensive line allowing quarterback Sam Bradford to get hit with great frequency, Rudolph had no chance to stretch the field and attack the linebackers, where he is a big mismatch. His receptions were nearly all short yardage, and he did a good job gaining the first down on a couple, as well as adding value yards after the catch.

2016 Week 5 vs HOU (4 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)

Rudolph had an off game, partly because the Houston Texans are very solid defending tight ends and potentially in part because he is still healing from a rib injury. Rudolph was largely contained until a 14-yard reception down the middle. It was one of the very few times Rudolph found himself in space with no defender draped on his back.

2016 Week 4 vs NYG (7 / 5 / 55 / 1 rec)

Quarterback Sam Bradford and Kyle Rudolph have now hooked up for touchdowns in three straight games, nearly doing it twice against the Giants on Monday Night Football. That missed opportunity found a confused Giants defense briefly leaving him uncovered as linebacker Jonathan Casillas (who initially was supposed to be on him) frantically asked cornerback Janoris Jenkins to do it instead. Either Bradford didn't see it or couldn't ditch to a quicker count, and Jenkins was in position when the ball was snapped. Bradford overthrew Rudolph just a little bit too far. The very next time they had the chance, they connected for a 7-yard touchdown. On the play, Rudolph ran a shallow post, getting perfect inside position on backup cornerback Trevin Wade and made an easy catch for the score.

2016 Week 3 vs CAR (10 / 7 / 70 / 1 rec)

Rudolph ended up the most consistent target in quarterback Sam Bradford's arsenal, scoring one touchdown and dropping another which would have been wiped out because Stefon Diggs was called for offensive pass interference. On the touchdown which stood, the play came early in the third quarter as the Vikings were down in the Carolina red zone. Rudolph lined up left-tight and but didn't block at the snap, instead releasing into a route immediately. Linebacker Shaq Thompson was in coverage, exactly the sort of mismatch the Vikings want for the athletic Rudolph, and Bradford just threw the ball up and let the taller Rudolph make a play on the ball. Overall, Rudolph ended up the focal point of the offense in the second half, as he was a great mismatch against the Carolina defense and virtually the only Vikings offensive player to consistently have any success.

2016 Week 2 vs GB (8 / 3 / 31 / 1 rec)

It took a little while, but eventually Sam Bradford and Kyle Rudolph got on the same page. After being unable to connect on three passes in the first quarter, Bradford hit Rudolph deep along the sideline. Rudolph did a great job splitting the defenders and finding open space to give Bradford a clean target to hit. The two connected again a short time later on an 8-yard touchdown. On the play, Rudolph drove safety Morgan Burnett off the line and into the end zone. The he cut towards the back corner pylon, where Bradford hit him for the score. The two connected one more time before the end of the first half, but not at all in the second half, as Bradford focused on getting Stefon Diggs the ball.

2016 Week 1 vs TEN (8 / 4 / 65 / 0 rec)

The main tight end, and one of Norv Turner's favorite players to call on, Rudolph made some key catches, including a big third down conversion in the second half of the game. He didn't find the end zone, but could be a bigger weapon when Sam Bradford is under center.


Latest News

Vikings | Kyle Rudolph the leading receiver (Thu Nov 24, 04:39 PM) - Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph led the Vikings with nine catches for 64 yards in a Week 12 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Our View: With Stefon Diggs out, Rudolph did see more targets, but very few red zone targets and almost no vertical plays. Sam Bradford got the ball out quick, and the defense reacted swiftly, so Rudolph couldn't add any value yards after the catch. His use is still wildly inconsistent since Pat Shurmur took over as offensive coordinator.
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