TE Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings
|6-6, 259||Born: 11-9-1989||College: Notre Dame||Drafted: Round 2, pick 2011|
2019 Week 1 vs ATL (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
It was a tough week for Rudolph. He did not register a single catch and had 1 target the entire game. That is not a good look when a highly drafted tight end is lurking behind him on the depth chart. However, it was not his fault this week as the offense only threw the ball 10 total times and ran it 38. Rudolph has always been touchdown dependent and will continue to be so this season. There is a lot of competition in the red zone for the Vikings and it will limit the overall value for Rudolph.
2019 Week 2 vs GB (5 / 3 / 9 / 0 rec)
After failing to have a catch in the first game, Rudolph at least had a reception this week. He had less than 10 yards receiving on 3 catches, but that came from the ineffectiveness of Cousins this week more than anything else. We did see Irv Smith have a reception this week and if his snap count continues to increase it will be at the expense of Rudolph. The Vikings look like a team that is preparing to move off of their long-time tight end and see what Smith has to offer. Rudolph is going to have to get things clicking with Cousins and quickly if he wants to keep his starting job.
2019 Week 3 vs OAK (1 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
With every passing week the value of Rudolph continues to drop. This week may spell the end for him as Irv Smith stepped up and led the team in receiving yards while Rudolph caught a single pass for 11 yards. It has been a very frustrating start to the season for Rudolph. He knew the writing was on the wall when the Vikings took Smith in the second round, but no one thought it could come this fast. Rudolph has been a complete non-factor so far this season. Some of that has to do with a struggling Cousins and some of that has to do with Rudolph just not getting open. The battle between Rudolph and Smith will be an interesting one to watch as the season wears on.
2019 Week 4 vs CHI (1 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)
We have to start to wonder if the struggles from Rudolph this year have more to do with Cousins than the declining play of Rudolph. He was pushed for playing time by Irv Smith last week and only saw a single target and catch for 12 yards again this week. However, Smith only had a single target and catch for 5 yards and no receiver in the offense found the end zone this week. The Viking offense is struggling outside of the running game this season and Rudolph is suffering because of it. It looked as if he was going to lose playing time to Smith last week but may have bought himself some more time with everyone else struggling around him.
2019 Week 5 vs NYG (1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)
The offense continues to go through Cook on the ground and Thielen through the air and Rudolph continues to struggle. A few weeks ago he was being pushed by Irv Smith for playing time, and now he just appears to be nonexistent when on the field. Rudolph caught his long target for 4 yards this week and has been a non-factor in the red zone or anywhere else for that matter. The offense is going to have to even out or teams will be able to game plan to stop certain players. Rudolph needs to step up if this offense wants to continue to succeed over the course of an entire season.
2019 Week 6 vs PHI (3 / 3 / 36 / 0 rec)
Rudolph finally makes an appearance in the box score worth noting with Cousins playing well. He caught all 3 of his targets and even took a pass 15 yards to the 5-yard line for Cook to punch in a few plays later for a touchdown. Rudolph also added an 18-yard catch down the sideline for a first down and showed his ability to go up and fight for a ball. It has been a tough season for a lot of Viking receivers, but Cousins seems to have figured something out and is pushing the ball down the field. Rudolph has yet to break 100 receiving yards total this season and has not found the end zone. Expect that to change in the coming weeks.
2019 Week 7 vs DET (6 / 5 / 58 / 1 rec)
It may have taken 7 weeks, but Rudolph finally got his first touchdown of the season. The big tight end has just 14 catches and 130 yards for the season. This was by far his best game of the season after catching 5 of his 6 targets for a season high 58 yards. This is even with Irv Smith also catching 5 of 6 targets and the Vikings showing they are not afraid to use both tight ends in the offense. Rudolph's touchdown came from 15 yards out and was a thing of beauty. Rudolph lined up in a bunch formation and made it look like he was blocking. He then spun off his defender and settled into the middle of the field with no defenders around him. He caught the Cousins pass 8 yards down the field and sprinted the last 7 yards in for the score without being touched. It was a great example of the athleticism that Rudolph has and was his longest play of the game.
2019 Week 8 vs WAS (3 / 3 / 17 / 0 rec)
After finally breaking through with his first touchdown of the season last week, Rudolph went back to having a quiet game against the Redskins. The big tight end caught all 3 of his targets but did not make much of a dent this week. His longest catch went for 7 yards and he failed to pick up a key first down in the first half when he elected to try and run around a defender rather than through him. Irv Smith was also targeted 3 times and was unable to do much with his receptions either. All of the offense this week went through Cook and Diggs and Rudolph put up another dud of a game.
2019 Week 9 vs KC (5 / 3 / 23 / 1 rec)
It has been a very up and down season for Rudolph so far this year and he is starting to see more and more pressure from Irv Smith behind him. This week he caught 3 of his 5 targets and most importantly the go-ahead touchdown early in the 4th quarter. It was a 3-yard score with Cousins finding Rudolph across the middle on the slant. He fit the ball into a tight window and Rudolph made the easy catch. The play was setup by a 22-yard screen play by Cook and gave the Vikings hope late in the game. Rudolph added a 15-yard catch for a 1st down but was not involved in the passing game heavily otherwise. Irv Smith is emerging as the pass catching tight end and there may be an end to Rudolph's Viking tenure at the end of the season if everything continues to trend this way.
2019 Week 10 vs DAL (5 / 4 / 14 / 2 rec)
It has been a long season for Rudolph so far, but he made a statement this week with his 2 touchdown catches. The first catch may go down as one of the best of the season. Cousins rolled to his left and made a jump pass on what looks like a ball he was trying to throw away. Rudolph comes across the back of the end zone and makes a one-handed catch as he was falling to the ground and managed to keep both feet in and gain possession of the ball. It looked like a broken play that Rudolph was able to turn into 6 points. The second touchdown was a play-action pass to Rudolph in the corner of the end zone. It looked like Cousins was going to try and find his full back in the flat, but the linebacker jumped that route and left Rudolph open in the back corner. The yardage may not have been this this week, but Rudolph had 2 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion this week. Irv Smith has been pushing him for playing time in passing situations all season and this game may be enough to buy Rudolph some more time.
2019 Week 11 vs DEN (5 / 5 / 67 / 1 rec)
Something seems to have a lit a fire under Rudolph in the past few weeks as he now has touchdowns in 4 out of his last 5 games. The big tight end caught all 5 of his targets this week and was the Vikings 2nd leading receiver behind Diggs. He had no catch bigger than the go ahead 32-yard touchdown late in the 4th quarter. It was the same play that Diggs had scored a 54-yard touchdown on the previous drive. Cousins faked the stretch play to Cook and rolled to his left. The defender on Rudolph crashed to the rolling Cousins to make sure he did not run for a first down and it left Rudolph open in the flat all by himself. It was an easy catch for a first down and turned into a long touchdown run when Rudolph realized the entire defense had committed to the run on the other side of the field. It has been a great stretch for Rudolph as he is making a case for the Vikings to involve both tight ends in the offense heavily.
2019 Week 13 vs SEA (6 / 4 / 50 / 1 rec)
The resurgence continues for Rudolph after he collected his 6th touchdown in his last 6 games. He had double the targets of Irv Smith with 6 and was able to catch 4 of them for 50 yards and a touchdown. His longest play of the game went for 19 yards up the seam and a big first down to help a Viking field goal drive. Rudolph also made a great grab and smartly got out of bounds with the Vikings driving for a field goal with under a minute to go before half. His touchdown catch was a thing of beauty for 3 yards out. Cousins had a clean pocket but nowhere to go with the ball. There were 3 defenders around Rudolph in the middle of the field, but he threw it in that direction anyway. It was a high pass that looked to be going wide of Rudolph until he went up with one hand and came down with the ball. It looked a lot like the catch he made against Dallas in the back of the end zone and brought the Vikings to within 4 points with a little over 7 minutes left in the game. Rudolph seems to have regained his grasp on the starting tight end job and has taken targets away from Irv Smith in recent weeks. The Vikings continue to run multiple 2 and 3 tight end sets and that has greatly benefitted Rudolph.
2019 Week 14 vs DET (2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
It was a different type of game for the Vikings this week and Rudolph did not make his presence known as a pass catcher. The Vikings ran the ball 39 times to 30 pass plays and Rudolph only had 2 targets the entire game. He caught both of them for 11 yards and never had the chance to make any circus or one-handed catches in the end zone this week. He continues to be an all-around team player and will do whatever the offense needs him to from week to week. His longest catch went for 8 yards with both Tyler Conklin and Irv Smith having more targets and receiving yards this week.
2019 Week 15 vs LAC (3 / 3 / 48 / 0 rec)
The person with the most targets to lose with the return of Thielen looked to by Rudolph, but he made his mark this week anyway. Rudolph caught all 3 of his targets, including a 22-yard strike down the sideline. This was the second longest play of the game for the Vikings and showed the big tight end has some break away speed when he needs it. He lost the goal line touchdown to Irv Smith and then later Mike Boone rushing touchdowns. The Vikings had a comfortable lead and did not have to force the ball down the field late in the second half. Rudolph has been a big part of this offense in recent weeks and that should continue even with Thielen back in the mix.
2019 Week 16 vs GB (2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
The turn around this season for Rudolph came to a screeching halt against the Packers. The big tight end was mic'd up for Monday Night Football and did his best to get his teammates pumped up and ready for this game. Unfortunately, his play on the field was hampered by an ineffective Cousins. Rudolph was targeted twice and only made a single catch for 7 yards. The other pass was a poor throw by Cousins to Rudolph who had not even broken out of his route yet. It was a poor game for the entire Viking offense and Rudolph was no exception.
2019 Week 17 vs CHI (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
It is surprising the Vikings were able to field an entire team this week. They elected to rest Rudolph as well after leaning on the tight end heavily in the past few weeks. Rudolph turned his season around and finished as a top 15 tight end. The rest this week will help keep him healthy for a matchup with either Seattle or New Orleans.
2019 Week 18 vs NO (7 / 4 / 31 / 1 rec)
It was a very quiet day for Rudolph this week. The big tight end was targeted 7 times, but only came down with 4 catches. During regulation, Cousins just could not put the ball on him and misfired on 3 different throws. Rudolph had 3 catches for 27 yards going into overtime. This is when he made the most important catch of his career on a play that is going to be talked about all week and complained about in New Orleans all off season. Rudolph made a 4-yard catch in the back of the end zone for a walk off win for the Vikings. Cook had just been stopped for a 3-yard loss and the Vikings were facing a 3rd and goal from the 4. Cousins back pedaled to his left and threw a jump ball to his tight end in the corner of the end zone. As the stadium showed the replay in slow motion and from every angle, there looked to be a push off from Rudolph. The booth did not initiate a formal review, but later released a statement saying that both players were fighting for position in the end zone and that there was not enough of an advantage gained to warrant a penalty. The play was looked at, but no official review called for. Irv Smith was held without a catch this week and Rudolph took over almost all of the tight end pass catching duties.
2019 Week 19 vs SF (3 / 2 / 4 / 0 rec)
After making the walk-off touchdown catch last week for the Vikings to advance, Rudolph was bottled up by a smothering 49ers defense. He caught just 2 of his 3 targets for less than 5 yards. The Vikings utilized Rudolph in more of a run blocking capacity and made the shift to Irv Smith through the air. This is what the future in Minnesota is going to look like. Rudolph is a fan favorite, but Smith is the tight end of the future.
2018 Week 1 vs SF (2 / 1 / 11 / 1 rec)
It was a very quiet day for Rudolph this week with the big tight end only receiving two targets the entire game. All three of the Viking tight ends caught a pass this week, Rudolph's just happened to be in the end zone. His greatest asset is his size and jumping ability in the red zone. Rudolph hauled in an 11-yard pass right down the seam for a Viking touchdown. Cousins knew exactly where he was going with the ball before it was even snapped. Outside of this play, Rudolph was locked down by an athletic core of linebackers for the 49ers. Always a boom or bust candidate, Rudolph continues to rely heavily on red zone touchdown opportunities.
2018 Week 2 vs GB (8 / 7 / 72 / 0 rec)
With Diggs and Thielen taking most of the headlines and touchdowns, Rudolph is easy to get overlooked in the offense. This plays directly into what the Vikings want to happen as the Packers defense began to forget about him as the game wore on. He managed to sneak out for a big 23-yard gain at the end of the third quarter. This helped set up the Vikings second touchdown after he was pushed out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Rudolph has not shown the same red zone prowess he did a year ago, but Thielen and Diggs have cashed in instead. It is only a matter of time before Rudolph gets his chances in the red zone.
2018 Week 3 vs BUF (6 / 5 / 48 / 1 rec)
It was a tough game for all of the Viking skill players, but at least Rudolph was able to find the end zone. He was the only player that got a chance around the goal line and he cashed in this week. The pass was a short 4-yard out route where Rudolph worked his way back to the ball. Cousins' pass was low, and Rudolph went to the ground to catch it. The Bills thought he had dropped the ball or at least not completed the catch to the ground. The play was eventually reviewed and upheld. Cousins then targeted Rudolph on the ensuing 2-point conversion, but the attempt failed. Rudolph had one other 17-yard catch up the seam, but no Viking player had a play over 20 yards this week. It was a disappointing week all around in Minnesota, but Rudolph managed to walk away with a touchdown.
2018 Week 4 vs LAR (6 / 5 / 57 / 0 rec)
With all the crazy passing stats in this game, it was almost surprising to see Rudolph not do a little more damage. The red zone looks went to Aldrick Robinson and the third down catches really did not come until the second half. Rudolph has had a respectable season thus far, but he has not been utilized as many thought he would be. His biggest gain was a 3rd down out route for a first down that he was able to carry up the sideline for 24 yards. There will come a game where Rudolph is targeted in the red zone and comes down with 2 touchdowns, but it has not happened yet. His average usage has come in at 5 catches per game for 50 yards and .5 touchdowns. He has the potential to do a lot more damage, but Cousins has not used him that way to this point.
2018 Week 5 vs PHI (5 / 5 / 41 / 0 rec)
The chemistry between Cousins and Rudolph in the red zone continues to struggle. The ball is being force fed to Diggs and Thielen and it does not leave a lot left for Rudolph. The big tight end caught all 5 of his targets and even got them in a goal to go situation before Thielen caught the eventual touchdown pass. Rudolph had 1 catch of 17 yards and continues to only be used in short to intermediate roles. Cousins has a very effective weapon in Rudolph, but just does not seem to want to use him.
2018 Week 6 vs ARI (4 / 4 / 37 / 0 rec)
Just like Diggs, Rudolph was a mere afterthought in the offense this week. He managed to snag 4 targets this week and had a long catch of 17 yards but was still overshadowed by Thielen. The Cardinals made no effort to adjust their game plan and let Thielen run free underneath. They stuck with Rudolph in coverage and often times put a bigger and more physical corner or safety on him. Rudolph excels when there is a linebacker in coverage and he simply did not get that opportunity this week. The Jets have only given up 3 touchdowns to tight ends all season long and aside from their game against the Colts this week have been very solid all around against the position. It will be a difficult task for Rudolph next week, but he may see some things open up if teams focus on Thielen more.
2018 Week 7 vs NYJ (4 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec)
It has been a very up and down season for Rudolph so far and this was another dud against the Jets. Rudolph had 4 targets and only hauled in 1 for 16 yards. He was dealing with a struggling Kirk Cousins this week and did not have much of a chance on the 3 missed targets. The offense tried to feature Murray in the red zone and continues to not use Rudolph to his potential. The Saints have not fared well against the passing game and it should provide opportunity for Rudolph to bounce back.
2018 Week 8 vs NO (7 / 4 / 39 / 0 rec)
It was not quite the breakthrough performance we have been looking for from Rudolph, but there were a lot of positives and things to build from this week. Rudolph tied Thielen for 2nd in targets this week with 7 and hauled in a long 25-yard pass down the sideline for a big first down. His line would have been much better if he had been awarded the touchdown catch in the 1st quarter, but he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds and not fully reestablished himself. There was a lot of pushing and shoving in the back of the end zone and any number of penalties could have been called. However, the refs concluded that the defensive holding and or illegal contact was negated by Rudolph stepping out of the back of the end zone before catching the ball. The numbers still are not there for Rudolph, but if he continues to get this high a volume of targets, the numbers are going to come.
2018 Week 9 vs DET (2 / 2 / 28 / 0 rec)
It was almost the perfect start for Rudolph this week. After Latavius Murray looked to fumble on the goal line, it was Rudolph who fell on the ball in the end zone. He was initially given a touchdown without even registering a catch. The play was eventually reviewed after the fact and the touchdown was given to Murray. Rudolph pulled in both of his other targets and had a long play down the side line for 24 yards. There was another third down play where Rudolph was wide open but Cousins under threw Thielen instead and the Vikings had to punt. Rudolph could be seen trying to talk to Cousins after they came off the field, but neither player looked angry about it. Rudolph is another great weapon for Cousins, but he has not used him as such to this point.
2018 Week 11 vs CHI (5 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
Another week has gone by, and the Vikings have failed to use Rudolph again. There seems to be a disconnect with Cousins somewhere, and Rudolph is constantly being overlooked in the red zone and just about everywhere else on the field. He was targeted on the final 2-point conversion play to try and get the score within 3, but the duo failed to connect. Rudolph had catches of 7 and 6 yards and not much else. Cousins seemed so comfortable throwing to Jordan Reed in Washington, but that has not carried over to Minnesota. There is a lot of unused potential being wasted in Rudolph, especially down in the red zone.
2018 Week 12 vs GB (7 / 7 / 63 / 0 rec)
Cousins finally seemed to realize that he had a weapon in Rudolph this week and targeted the big tight end 7 times. This was good for 3rd on the team behind Diggs and Thielen and that is where he should be all season long. Rudolph snagged all 7 of his targets and even made an acrobatic one-handed diving catch across the middle for a first down. Rudolph did not make an impact in the red zone, but the Vikings scored from outside of it on 2 of their 3 touchdowns this week. Rudolph is a big weapon that the Vikings have not been using this season. He should see a greater volume as the rushing attack gets going. Rudolph fits the play action pop pass offensive style perfectly and that is something the Vikings could thrive on. Look for him to establish himself in the coming games this season.
2018 Week 13 vs NE (3 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec)
It looked like Cousins was finally going to start using Rudolph more, but that fell off in the second half this week. Rudolph had a big 23-yard catch and another tight roping catch on the sideline but did not see much outside of that. Cousins continues to forget about him in the red zone and just does not use him as much as they should. Rudolph does not lose looks to other tight ends, but instead competition from Diggs, Robinson, and Thielen. Cousins elected to throw to Cook out of the back field 10 times rather than look for Rudolph down the field. It has been a frustrating season for the big tight end but he continues to show flashes of how he can be a great tight end in the NFL.
2018 Week 14 vs SEA (5 / 2 / 7 / 0 rec)
Another week and another poor showing for Rudolph. The entire offense struggled this week and not just Rudolph. The only time his number was called when it mattered was on a 4th and goal play from the 1 where the ball was thrown behind him and into coverage. Rudolph was unable to make the catch and it may have been an interception if Cousins had actually thrown it to the correct spot. Rudolph caught 2 of his 5 targets and failed to surpass 10 total yards. It has been a very down season for the big tight end and he is starting to see some competition from Ty Conklin in recent weeks. The change to Cousins this year has not been beneficial for Rudolph.
2018 Week 15 vs MIA (3 / 3 / 23 / 0 rec)
With the new offensive coordinator taking control, we had to wonder if Rudolph was going to see a bigger role. That was not the case this week and he actually lost targets to backup Ty Conklin. Rudolph had the same number of targets, 1 more catch, but 30 fewer yards than Conklin this week. The run game imposed its will in the red zone and took away the best part of Rudolph's game. There is still the chance that the success of the run game will open up more play action passes for Rudolph, but Cousins will have to actually throw him the ball. It has been a frustrating season for the big tight end, but he needs to step his game up down the stretch if the Vikings want to have any playoff success.
2018 Week 16 vs DET (9 / 9 / 122 / 2 rec)
It has been an ugly season for Rudolph until this week. He had under 500 yards and only 2 touchdowns coming into the game. That all went out the window with his 9 receptions on 9 targets and 2 huge touchdowns. He surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time this season and added his longest play of the year. Rudolph kicked off his scoring with a 44-yard touchdown with no time left headed into touchdown. Cousins found Rudolph deep down the right sideline for the score going into half time. There were only 2 seconds left on the clock before the play happened and it was a chuck and pray kind of play. The second touchdown was a little more traditional in regard to his skill set. The Vikings lined up in a power run formation and went play action from the 4-yard line. Cousins found Rudolph who had leaked into the flat. His linebacker in coverage got caught up in the run blitz and Rudolph was able to outrun him to the end zone for the score. This was the best game of the big tight end's career. They are going to see a lot more efforts like this from Rudolph if they want to clinch a playoff spot and make a deep run. He has the skills to be dangerous in the red zone and if the run game continues to take off he should see even more targets in play-action sets.
2018 Week 17 vs CHI (5 / 4 / 19 / 0 rec)
After finally breaking out last week against the Lions, Rudolph failed to top 20 yards this week while catching 4 of his 5 targets. His longest catch was 9 yards on a check down play. It was 3rd and 18 when Cousins found Rudolph underneath. He came nowhere near the first down and that seemed to be the story of the entire game. It has been a frustrating season for Rudolph that saw him finish with 64 receptions for 634 yards and 4 touchdowns. He could have been and should have been a much bigger part of the offense this season, but the Vikings did not use him that way.
2017 Week 1 vs NO (3 / 3 / 26 / 1 rec)
Rudolph looks to be the Vikings number one threat in the redzone as the big tight end has proven to be able to catch the ball in traffic. Bradford went to Rudolph late from the 15-yard line to put the Vikings back up by two scores late in this one. Rudolph ran a perfect post route to make a catch over the middle for the Vikings third touchdown of the night. Bradford also used Rudolph in third and long situations to sustain drives and keep the Vikings offense on the field. Rudolph did not have a big yardage total but did throw a key block in Dalvin Cook's 33-yard scamper in the second half.
2017 Week 2 vs PIT (6 / 4 / 45 / 0 rec)
Kyle Rudolph had one of the top catches of the night as well as the longest play from scrimmage for the Vikings. The big tight end worked up the seam and found some space between the linebacker and safety. Case Keenum was again hit on his throw and the ball sailed high. Rudolph leaped with one hand and was able to tip the ball to himself for a big gain. Outside of this catch, the big tight end was very quiet today. The entire offensive game plan was thrown off when Sam Bradford was ruled out and it threw everyone off their game.
2017 Week 3 vs TB (2 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)
Kyle Rudolph did not play a major role this week but he did not need to. The big tight end was only targeted twice in the passing game and played more of a role blocking than anything else. Rudolph's value comes from his red zone ability but Case Keenum never even looked his way with how well Diggs and Thielen were playing. Rudolph should see his volume increase when Sam Bradford is healthy and starting again.
2017 Week 4 vs DET (4 / 2 / 34 / 0 rec)
Case Keenum and Rudolph do not seem to have the same connection that Rudolph does with Sam Bradford. The big tight end was not utilized until the second half and even then Keenum was unable to get him the ball when it mattered. All four of Rudolph's targets came on the second to last drive of the game and most balls were thrown high where Rudolph had to make a spectacular catch to get to. The best play came on a 19-yard go route where Rudolph simply out jumped the corner and came down with the ball like a basketball rebound. It would be hard to overthrow the 6'7î tight end but Case Keenum found a way to do so. Rudolph is a much better player when Sam Bradford leads the offense and he must be eagerly awaiting his return.
2017 Week 5 vs CHI (9 / 6 / 45 / 1 rec)
Rudolph had more targets than any other Viking this week and was the only receiver to get into the end zone on a passing play. Rudolph showcased his basketball background by going up and over corners again this week but his touchdown catch came on a broken play. Case Keenum rolled to his right and the entire defense followed. Rudolph was standing all alone in the back of the end zone for an easy 13-yard touchdown. Rudolph may have had the volume of targets but he also suffered from inconsistent quarterbacks and small check down routes for short yardage. The offense as a whole will need to perform better next week against the Packers if they want to try and keep pace in a competitive NFC North.
2017 Week 6 vs GB (9 / 5 / 47 / 0 rec)
Rudolph ranked second in targets today with 9 but was unable to do very much with them. The big tight end was often double covered in the red zone and unable to break free of his man on third down and other spots on the field. Rudolph's biggest asset is his big framed body and ability to jump and block out his defender. Rudolph's biggest catch today came on a 16-yard catch and run play up the seam. Had he been able to break the tackle of Ha-ha Clinton Dix he would have walked right into the end zone for a touchdown. Rudolph was used sparingly today but was able to impact the game with the few catches he did have.
2017 Week 7 vs BAL (7 / 5 / 43 / 0 rec)
Rudolph falls into the same boat as Adam Thielen today with a very ineffective Case Keenum. The big tight end ranked second with 7 targets, but he had to battle inaccurate passes all day. It is hard to miss a 6'7" receiver, but Keenum found ways to do it. His longest play of the day came on a 19-yard catch and run down the right sideline. He boxed out his defender and rumbled down the field for the first down. Rudolph had been boom or bust all season and is highly tough down dependent. He has to hope for a more accurate quarterback next week against the Browns.
2017 Week 8 vs CLE (7 / 6 / 27 / 1 rec)
Rudolph was used as a safety blanket for Keenum today as he never really tried to stretch the field. He ranked second in targets with 7 on the day and pulled in all but one of them. Rudolph played very smart and would come back towards the line of scrimmage when his quarterback was scrambling and trying to make a play happen. His longest play of the day was a 6-yard out route but his most important came on the 4-yard touchdown pass. Rudolph worked his way across the short field and Keenum put the ball where only he could come down with it. Rudolph made a leaping catch and came down with two feet as the defender tried to push him out of the back of the end zone while in midair. This catch was reminiscent of Rudolph's basketball days and has been a big part of his game his entire career. The yardage total may not have been there, but Rudolph will always be a threat in the red zone.
2017 Week 10 vs WAS (7 / 5 / 37 / 0 rec)
Keenum wanted to get the ball to Rudolph today, so much so he threw both of his interceptions after targeting the big tight end. Rudolph was second on the team with 7 targets, all of which were caught, two by the other team. Rudolph has not been a huge factor in the Viking's offense with Case Keenum at quarterback but continues to draw additional coverage in the red zone and on third down. Keenum was able to hit him for 12 yards on a skinny post, but outside of that there was no catch and run opportunities for Rudolph. The Vikings had a lot of success in the air against Washington this week, but Rudolph did not play a big role in that.
2017 Week 11 vs LAR (7 / 5 / 58 / 0 rec)
If you just look at the stat line, five receptions for 58 yards seems to be about the norm for Rudolph, but he made one of the best catches he has made all season on a seam route in triple coverage as Keenum threw the ball where Rudolph had to jump up and reach over a defensive players head to come down and make the catch all while keeping concentration regarding the oncoming defenders. This play exemplifies why Rudolph is such a valuable piece of this Vikings team as he is a reliable pass catching tight end that if you throw the ball up to him, he is not going to drop it as he does not have a drop on the season.
2017 Week 12 vs DET (4 / 4 / 63 / 2 rec)
The Vikings offense was firing on all cylinders against the Lions this week and Rudolph was the beneficiary of 2 touchdowns this week. The first catch came on an easy 1-yard out route while the second was a 22-yard bomb down the right seam where Rudolph simply ran past his linebacker in coverage and into the end zone. Rudolph showcased his basketball background and out jumped his coverage to bring down his 22-yard catch. Keenum has looked more to Rudolph in recent weeks, especially in the red zone.
2017 Week 13 vs ATL (5 / 4 / 36 / 1 rec)
Rudolph was the second most productive receiver for the Vikings this week and he only managed 36 yards through the air. The big tight end got his shot to shine in the red zone and caught a 6-yard pass from Keenum that would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Rudolph worked right up the seam against a linebacker who thought he was passing him off to the safety in coverage, but the safety was late getting over and Rudolph had the easy touchdown catch. He also added a 16-yard catch and run on the Vikings last drive of the game to help the Vikings run out the clock. Rudolph caught 4 of his 5 targets and did as much damage as anyone else in the Viking offense.
2017 Week 14 vs CAR (5 / 3 / 41 / 1 rec)
Rudolph was third on the team with 5 targets this week but did not manage much outside of his touchdown catch in the first half. Keenum directed more than half of his targets to Thielen and Diggs and seemed to forget about Rudolph several times when the big tight end came open across the middle of the field. The touchdown play was a beautiful pass and catch in traffic as Rudolph worked his way up the seam and caught the ball just over the linebacker in coverage and before the safety could bear down and make a play. This same play also accounted for Rudolph's longest play of the game with the 18-yard reception. Rudolph continues to be an asset in the red zone but does not seem to be utilized as much in other parts of the field.
2017 Week 15 vs CIN (2 / 2 / 17 / 1 rec)
Despite an ankle injury and being ruled as doubtful all week, Rudolph ended up suiting up for the Vikings and having an impact. The big tight end only managed 2 catches, but one of those was for a touchdown. 16 of his 17 yards came on a single play, and the touchdown came on a 1-yard reception. Rudolph ran an out route where his linebacker in coverage was rubbed off. He was found all alone in the end zone for an easy Viking touchdown. His play was limited this week due to the injury and he was subbed out in many of the running packages. The Vikings actually ran the ball more than they threw it this week and that limited what Rudolph had to do.
2017 Week 16 vs GB (1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
The Viking offense did not perform particularly well and Rudolph almost completely disappeared this week. The Packer linebackers did a great job covering Rudolph as he was only targeted once for a 6-yard reception. Keenum struggled in the passing game and could not find his big tight end. Rudolph disappeared in the red zone as well where he has been the most effective all season. Rudolph made sure to say it was not his ankle that had him limited this week and that he would be healthy and ready to go for the playoffs.
2017 Week 17 vs CHI (3 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
The Vikings limited Rudolph this week as he is still coming off of an ankle injury. The big tight end had a single catch on 3 targets and was not the focal point in the red zone and goal to go situations. Rudolph may be the biggest beneficiary of the week off to get back to 100%.
2017 Week 19 vs NO (8 / 5 / 28 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was not used as much this week with Diggs and Thielen receiving most of the work. Rudolph had 8 total targets but was unable to really do anything with the ball once he caught it. Keenum's passes were either high or along the sideline with no room to run for Rudolph. One of the more questionable decisions of the game was throwing the ball to Rudolph late in the 4th quarter and the big tight end running out of bounds rather than sliding inbounds to keep the clock rolling. The Vikings were in position to run the clock down and kick a game-winning field goal but decided to throw the ball 3 times and only complete it once to a receiver that ran out of bounds. This did not come back to haunt the Vikings in the end but would have been pointed to as what cost them the game in the end if Diggs had not scored that touchdown.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 13 vs DAL (12 / 6 / 45 / 0 rec)
Rudolph saw a lot of targets but some good coverage as well, which limited his production. He had two passes he had hands on and could have caught, but couldn't. The first was a short pass behind him, which could have been a first down if quarterback Sam Bradford had led his tight end with the throw. The second was in the end zone and while the pass was too high, Rudolph extended enough to make the catch but merely watched as it sailed in between his hands.
2016 Week 14 vs JAX (8 / 4 / 60 / 1 rec)
Rudolph had a very solid day, bookended by a 44-yard catch with the first play of the game and a touchdown to seal the game in the fourth quarter. On the 44-yard catch, Sam Bradford had to scramble to extend the play and escape pressure before throwing a high-arching pass over the defenders head to Rudolph. After bobbling it initially, Rudolph secured the ball and added another twenty yards before getting hauled down. On the touchdown, Rudolph feigned a block and then slipped out on a short out route. Bradford had quickly bootlegged to his right and delivered the ball. Nobody was anywhere near the tight end, who easily scored.
2016 Week 15 vs IND (10 / 8 / 97 / 0 rec)
Rudolph had the most overall success out of everyone in the offense, making some nice plays as Sam Bradford targeted him quite often throughout the game. His biggest play was a 28-yard catch in the second quarter. On the play, Rudolph ran a delayed route and found space between three Colts defenders. It was a bit of a dangerous pass--similar ones had been picked off earlier--but Rudolph was able to extend his body and make the catch. He made two more great catches in the fourth quarter, one a 23-yard reception where he got a step on the defender and Bradford dropped the ball perfectly ahead of him and another a 24-yard catch where he was wide open and then piled into several Colts defenders, pushing them forward for extra yards.
2016 Week 16 vs GB (9 / 6 / 53 / 0 rec)
Rudolph continues to get solid amounts of targets but not a ton of yards. He has only cracked 70 yards once since Week 3 and has just one touchdown in his last six games. The Packers game was more of the same. It looked promising in the first half, as Rudolph made a nice catch over the middle with a defender draped over his shoulders, gaining 21 yards on the play. Then he largely disappeared the rest of the quarter, not being targeted again until the middle of the third quarter when he hauled in a 9-yard catch on a 3rd and 15. The Packers did a good job of blanketing him overall, and limiting his ability to find open space, reducing his role to almost nothing.
2016 Week 17 vs CHI (15 / 11 / 117 / 1 rec)
Rudolph ended the season by far the most targeted individual in the Vikings offense, so it makes sense he was by far the most targeted person on Sunday in the win over the Bears. Chicago had no answer for the tight end, whose athleticism, speed and size made him a nightmare to try and contain. On his touchdown, a 22-yard catch and run in the second quarter, Rudolph was wide open on a seam route. He caught the ball in stride and after a poor attempt at a tackle by a defender, Rudolph dove for the end zone and a score. The Bears had a real problem wrapping up anyone on Sunday, and when it came to Rudolph they just seemed to slide off him all day long.
2015 Week 1 vs SF (7 / 5 / 53 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was the target on several badly overthrown balls by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, including an interception. On that play, Rudolph found the seam between coverage but Bridgewater threw the ball too high and it was picked off. The two hooked up for a nice 19-yard catch earlier in the game. On the play, a 2nd and 20 in the third quarter, Bridgewater had plenty of time but San Francisco covered his receivers beautifully. Rudolph kept moving though, eventually breaking free towards the left sideline where Bridgewater hit him for the big gain.
2015 Week 2 vs DET (7 / 5 / 30 / 1 rec)
The day started off with a bang for tight end Kyle Rudolph, as he scored on his very first target. On the play, Rudolph ran a simple up route into the end zone, running between several defenders who ended up basically leaving him on his own in the back of the end zone. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spotted him open and threw a nice pass for the touchdown. On several other plays, Rudolph made a nice catch but found himself short of the first down marker and facing off against one or more defenders. In most cases, Rudolph bulled his way close to or for a first down, showing great determination and a lot of strength.
2015 Week 3 vs SD (5 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was targeted enough to salvage a good fantasy day on a quiet afternoon for the Vikings pass offense, but he he dropped a touchdown. He was targeted again in the red zone when Bridgewater rushed into a bad throw. While he was able to get a few targets on shorter passes, Rudolph didn't have much margin of error in this game script and he squandered the chance to help his owners.
2015 Week 4 vs DEN (4 / 2 / 7 / 0 rec)
Rudolph has faded into the background in this offense, despite the need for short, quick passes to offset the offensive line issues. He was targeted just four times despite Teddy Bridgewater throwing the ball 41 times against the Denver Broncos. While he was on the field for 69 offensive snaps, Rudolph was an afterthought on any pass play and a blocker on too many of them as well.
2015 Week 6 vs KC (5 / 2 / 9 / 1 rec)
It was a 'good news/bad news' day for Rudolph. On the good side of things, he was the recipient of a 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. On the play, the defense chose to follow Adrian Peterson as the running back came out of the backfield on a short out route, leaving Rudolph in single coverage with Chiefs cornerback Eric Berry. Rudolph gained the inside on his route and made an easy catch along the back of the end zone. On the bad side of things, he was the target on Bridgewater's first interception. On the play, Bridgewater was scrambling and Rudolph kept moving across the field on his route, but Bidgewater didn't have time to plant his feet, and as such was still moving to his right, which caused the ball to sail right. Rudolph tried to get the ball anyway, but couldn't get his hands on it and the ball flew past and was intercepted. Overall, Rudolph gets targets but is only hauling in just 57 percent of his targets. He's very hit or miss.
2015 Week 7 vs DET (2 / 2 / 10 / 1 rec)
It was a day of quality, not quantity for Kyle Rudolph as he saw very little passes thrown his way but one of them resulted in a touchdown. On the play, Bridgewater executed a play-action fake, then rolled out to his right. Rudolph briefly blocked a defender, then ran a short out route. The defense completely ignored him, and he was wide open when Bridgewater delivered the pass.
2015 Week 8 vs CHI (2 / 2 / 22 / 0 rec)
Rudolph is not very integral to the gameplan for Minnesota, and Teddy Bridgewater rarely looks his direction. He was the target on a dump off once and a crossing route, both in the first quarter and then he was never targeted again.
2015 Week 9 vs LA (2 / 2 / 30 / 0 rec)
It's been a long, disappointing year for Kyle Rudolph as the big tight end has found himself behind three wide receivers in the pecking order. This week he finally found himself open twice and made both catches, one of which he shook a tackle on and took for a first down.
2015 Week 10 vs OAK (4 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
The most notable play for Kyle Rudolph was a missed opportunity and the most brutal drop he's had in a long time. On the play, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was chased out of the pocket by pressure. He did a good job of keeping his eyes in the end zone, and saw Rudolph all by himself in the back of it. Bridgewater threw an easy pass to Rudolph but the tight end dropped it, despite the ball hitting him right in the hands. This would have put the Vikings up 14-0 late in the first and quite possibly would have changed the whole face of the game. Rudolph has been getting fewer and fewer chances each week so a drop like that looks even worse.
2015 Week 11 vs GB (9 / 6 / 106 / 1 rec)
Rudolph peaked early, with a huge touchdown to take the lead (the only one the Vikings had) late in the first quarter. On the play, Teddy Bridgewater dropped back, scanned the field and then stepped up into the pocket. Rudolph was on a deep corner route, and Bridgewater hit him with a perfect pass about 20 yards into it. Rudolph had nobody near him save for one defender, who couldn't catch up to him as he ran the last 20 or so yards to the end zone. Rudolph also came up with a tremendous catch late in the third quarter on a tight end seam where he split the defenders, and Bridgewater delivered a ball right between them. Rudolph, who dropped a sure touchdown last week, bobbled the ball briefly, but made the catch and a big first down.
2015 Week 12 vs ATL (10 / 7 / 53 / 0 rec)
After weeks where Rudolph was less than an afterthought, he now has back to back games where he has had nine or more targets. It's safe to say we have a trend, as Norv Turner's offensive scheme has been focused on Adrian Peterson, but is throwing more balls Rudolph's way. Last week the result was 103 yards and a touchdown, but while this week didn't result in either--and one target was picked off because Teddy Bridgewater didn't put enough force or lift on the ball--Rudolph has clearly become a big part of this offense. That interception happened in the end zone, by the way, and he is clearly a serious option in the red zone. More than once on Sunday, Rudolph extended plays by breaking tackles and finding some open space to advance the ball before getting tackled.
2015 Week 13 vs SEA (4 / 3 / 13 / 0 rec)
As was the case with the entire offense, the lack of solid offensive line play along with tremendous coverage by Seattle kept Kyle Rudolph quiet. He made a couple of nice catches, but for the most part the plays were so slow in developing that he was often swamped by defenders before he could add more value yards.
2015 Week 14 vs ARI (6 / 6 / 67 / 0 rec)
Rudolph has become one of Teddy Bridgewater's most reliable targets as the season has progressed and he caught all of his targets on Thursday night. Almost all of his receptions were short-to-medium distance and he did a solid job of hanging onto the ball even when he was hit. He often found himself dealing with safety Tyrann Mathieu, who while somewhat undersized is a physical and powerful player and who was able to limit Rudolph's ability to add yards after the catch.
2015 Week 15 vs CHI (2 / 2 / 21 / 0 rec)
Rudolph's role was radically reduced this week, as he was only targeted twice, both of which he caught. He was not targeted in the red zone at all.
2015 Week 16 vs NYG (3 / 2 / 53 / 1 rec)
Save for a touchdown reception, Rudolph had the same quiet evening that the rest of the passing offense did. On that play though, a 28-yard reception, Rudolph ran a nice seam route and got a couple of steps on the defender. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a perfect pass, which Rudolph caught while crossing into the end zone.
2015 Week 17 vs GB (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was oddly absent from the gameplan, his only target not really a target at all, but a throw-away. There was very little passing by the Vikings and so despite the fact that Rudolph was on the field for 88 percent of the offensive plays, much of which saw him blocking.
2014 Week 1 vs STL (4 / 2 / 16 / 1 rec)
Surprisingly, Kyle Rudolph was the odd man out in the offense. Since quarterback Matt Cassel really didn't throw the ball often, nobody aside from Greg Jennings was overwhelmed with passes, including Rudolph. The big tight end was well covered by a defense which excelled at containing tight ends last year. Rudolph made a really nice catch on the first pass his way, holding onto the ball despite getting hammered by the defense. Another throw came in at his knees and Rudolph couldn't hang on. His big moment came with his final target, a 7-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the play, Cassel executed a playaction pass, and rolled out to his right. Rudplph did a great job of boxing his defender out of the way so Cassel could throw the ball with no interference, and then made a nice catch for the score.
2014 Week 2 vs NE (8 / 5 / 53 / 0 rec)
Rudolph started out how on the first drive with a pair of catches for 26 yards, but then the offense fell apart. Most of the day, Rudolph was well covered--he only had a few passes where he wasn't blanketed by at least one defender. That made it tough to make catches, but even when he was free, Rudolph struggled, dropping several balls he should have had where he was not under pressure. He was the most targeted player on the team and will continue to be in line for a lot of work.
2014 Week 3 vs NO (5 / 3 / 27 / 0 rec)
The tight end was forced from the game in the fourth quarter and will be gone for about six weeks due to sports-hernia surgery per Albert Breer of NFL Network. Rudolph appeared to hurt it while going out on a route, as he began hopping up and down as he ran. Other than that, Rudolph had been playing well, with the exception of one pass which went through his hands early on in the game. This is a blow to the Vikings offense, and we'll see if they sign another player to help or if Rhett Ellison will get more snaps.
2014 Week 11 vs CHI (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rudolph played about 1/3 of the snaps, but he wasn't ready to make a big impact, and the Vikings offense apparently wasn't either.
2014 Week 12 vs GB (5 / 3 / 50 / 0 rec)
While Rudolph seemed a bit tentative in his first game back from injury, he had a pretty successful day as he and Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be on the same page quite frequently. While he caught most of the passes thrown his way, he seemed to be a bit hesitant upon contact and lacked some of the athleticism and speed we saw pre-injury. It may be that this is merely a result of some rust due to the long layoff, but it bears watching.
2014 Week 13 vs CAR (3 / 2 / 7 / 1 rec)
Rudolph has fully integrated himself back into the offense in Minnesota and began his game with a bang as he scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass. On the play, Rudolph ran a drag route across the middle of the field. Carolina never tracked him, so when he came out the other side, he was wide open for an easy pass by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. As the Vikings ran away with the game, Rudolph saw less work like the rest of the passing offense and spent a lot of his time blocking.
2014 Week 14 vs NYJ (2 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Normally the Jets defense gets killed by tight ends, but it was a quiet day for Kyle Rudolph, who only had a pair of targets on the day. Both were short passes, one up the middle in traffic for six yards and the other on a well-run short out for a first down. Otherwise, Rudolph's services weren't needed.
2014 Week 15 vs DET (7 / 7 / 69 / 0 rec)
After weeks of waiting for Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Rudolph to really sync up, we finally got a game where the two were totally on the same page. Rudolph caught all of his targets, including Bridgewater's only semi-long pass of the day. That was Rudolph's first catch, a 21-yard snag across the middle in the first quarter. Rudolph was wide open, but the throw was a little high as it seemed Bridgewater was concerned about getting picked off by a linebacker underneath in coverage. Because it was high, Rudolph had to stop and extend for the ball and couldn't add any post-catch yards. On another play, Bridgewater was under pressure and had to get rid of the ball, so he found Rudolph in the flat and delivered the ball. Rudolph was behind the line of scrimmage and nearly got dropped for a loss, but he slipped the first tackle and gained yards before being tackled out of bounds. Rudolph was hurt in the third quarter and briefly came out of the game but returned to the game a short time later.
2013 Week 1 vs DET (4 / 2 / 27 / 0 rec)
Last season Christian Ponder looked to Kyle Rudolph whenever he was in a bind. That may happen again, but at least against the Detroit Lions, Ponder looked more the Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson than his old reliable Rudolph. The Lions also worked hard to take Rudolph out of plays,playing him physically at the line sometimes and just blanketing him in coverage for others. Ponder didn't help, overthrowing Rudolph on two missed passes, one of which resulted in a game,sealing interception late in the fourth quarter. On that play, Rudolph was well covered,he had defenders bracketing him in front and behind,but Ponder threw the ball anyway. It would have taken a tremendous throw to allow Rudolph to get that pass and Ponder couldn't do that. Instead the ball glanced off Rudolph's fingertips and into the arms of Glover Quin.
2013 Week 2 vs CHI (6 / 3 / 42 / 1 rec)
As always, quarterback Christian Ponder looks to his tight end quite often. Kyle Rudolph was the target on the first touchdown by the offense, tying the game at 21 to end the first half. Unfortunately the television feed was lost due to technical difficulties but the play-by-play described Rudolph as ripping the ball from the defender for the touchdown. Rudolph's size, strength and athleticism continue to make him a key red-zone target for the offense. Rudolph had a largely quite game otherwise, making a few nice grabs where he was able to use his body to create some space between himself and the Bears' defense. He also seemed to let up on a block during a Christian Ponder scramble for a first down, surprising as normally he does a solid job blocking.
2013 Week 3 vs CLE (8 / 5 / 28 / 0 rec)
As was the case with many of the pieces in the passing game, Kyle Rudolph often had poorly thrown passes to work with. After an initial catch which netted the team five yards, Rudolph saw two targets which gave him no chance to make a play on. One, a deep pass to the left side of the field was a result of Rudolph getting jammed in coverage and not getting free, but the second was a carpet-grazer thrown to his feet. Rudolph then bobbled and dropped the next pass, one where the team was backed up into its own end and needed a first down. Rudolph would have been short of the first down, but it might have made the third down more manageable. After the drop, Ponder threw a screen pass to Adrian Peterson which was short of the first down and the team had to punt. Rudolph did redeem himself at least a little, as he caught his next four targets and did a great job on one to fight towards the first down marker on a third-and-10 try. He fell one yard short but dragged a defender with him as he stretched for the marker.
2013 Week 4 vs PIT (2 / 2 / 6 / 0 rec)
Unlike Christian Ponder, Matt Cassell does not look for Kyle Rudolph short quite as often. He only targeted Rudolph a pair of times, though both were caught;. On the first, Rudolph was thrashed to the ground by Lamar Woodley and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty. It appears as though Rudolph's role--already smaller than it was last year--is growing even tinier.
2013 Week 6 vs CAR (11 / 9 / 97 / 1 rec)
Kyle Rudolph had his best game of the season with both his highest yardage totals and catches as well as the highest amount of targets he's seen since Week 6 of 2012. As with much of the offense, the majority of his targets were on short passes. He did have a nice catch on a deeper route late in the first half. On the play, a "Hook" route run by Rudolph on the left side of the field, quarterback Matt Cassel made a nice throw to his tight end, who had used his body to block out the coverage. Rudolph's touchdown came on a very short pass, where Rudolph showed off some deft moves to avoid tacklers. On the play, late in the fourth quarter, Rudolph ran a couple of yards off the line of scrimmage and turned. Cassel delivered the ball quickly and Rudolph caught it, then turned upfield. As a defender reached for him, Rudolph danced backwards and the player had to reach to even lay a hand on him, falling to the ground. Another Panther dove at Rudolph, who sidestepped him and headed to the outside. Receiver Joe Webb did a nice job delaying a couple more defenders as the tight end raced for the end zone for the touchdown.
2013 Week 7 vs NYG (9 / 3 / 27 / 0 rec)
Rudolph saw a decent volume of targets but too many were high and off for him to reel too many of them in. The worst was an ill-conceived throw by Freeman which was intercepted. Rudolph was well covered on an intermediate route and Freeman, who was being hauled down by the Giants, heaved the ball in his general direction. The ball was high and too long--as was common Monday night--and Giants safety Antrel Rolle made a spectacular one handed interception. The rest of Rudolph's night was unremarkable.
2013 Week 8 vs GB (4 / 4 / 51 / 0 rec)
This game saw Kyle Rudolph revert back to quarterback Christian Ponder's safety blanket and when Ponder was under pressure, he looked for Rudolph. The Packers knew this and took care to keep an eye on him and make it tough for him to make a catch but when he got loose, he gained a lot of yards. Rudolph made a great catch on a 17-yard pass by Ponder which may have bailed the quarterback out of a terrible decision. Under pressure, Ponder saw Rudolph deep and heaved the ball up. Rudolph jumped up and made a nice catch--if he hadn't it's a throw that might have been picked off. Rudolph made a nice run after a short catch late in the fourth quarter. On the play, Rudolph made a nice catch on a dump pass and then shoved a defender out of the way as he ran for another ten yards, delivering a hit to end the run.
2013 Week 9 vs DAL (2 / 2 / 35 / 1 rec)
While he scored a touchdown on an impressive catch and run, Kyle Rudolph also left the game with what ended up being a broken foot and, according to the Star-Tribune's Chip Scoggins, will be down for 4-6 weeks. The touchdown, a 31 yard play in the third which was an all out battle for the last ten yards came on a very nice throw by Christian Ponder which Rudolph, although well covered, was able to jump up and grab while continuing to move forward. Rudolph then shed one tackler, slipped away from another and dragged a third for the score. As he crossed the goal line both he and the Cowboys defender hit the ground and it appeared on tape as if Rudolph's left foot was twisted awkwardly under the defender. You could see him wincing and limping when he stood up though.
2012 Week 1 vs JAX (7 / 5 / 67 / 0 rec)
There has been some buzz about Rudolph this off-season, especially about the chemistry he and Christian Ponder have been working to build. Ponder looked for all day-he threw to him short (which Rudolph was able to turn into a long gain), he threw to him deep (which set up a field goal) and Rudolph did a great job of using his size, speed and hands to overcome coverage. It's too early to be definitive but it looks as though Rudolph is on his way to being a big factor in this offense going forward.
2012 Week 2 vs IND (5 / 3 / 35 / 1 rec)
Kyle Rudolph had a slightly quieter Sunday than the previous week, though he still contributed quite a bit and scored a touchdown at that pulled the Vikings to within one score of tying. On the play, Rudolph ran a very short route, paused and turned at the one which froze the defender covering him. The Rudolph stepped to his left where Ponder threw a ball away from the defender and Rudolph caught, before turning up into the end zone for a score. Rudolph continues to be heavily involved in the passing game and has proved to be a very reliable target.
2012 Week 3 vs SF (6 / 5 / 36 / 2 rec)
The chemistry developing between Ponder and Rudolph is striking, as the tight end was targeted 4 times on the opening drive and caught each one. His fourth reception on the opening drive was for a touchdown, as Rudolph was able to beat Aldon Smith to the corner of the end zone and catch an accurately thrown ball. On the second touchdown reception, Rudolph hadn't turned before the ball was thrown. Tightly covered, Rudolph was able to turn around and bring the ball to his body with one hand due to the placement of the pass on the defender's side. The timing and execution of the play showed just how far the second year tight end has come in both Ponder's trust and his development. Rudolph's final tally was 5 receptions on 6 targets, for 36 yards and 2 touchdowns.
2012 Week 4 vs DET (5 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
After a huge couple of games, Rudolph came crashing back down to earth. He was completely ignored until the third quarter when he finally was thrown to twice for completions, though neither big and neither in the red zone, much less anywhere near the end zone. On the bright side, he was frequently targeted in the fourth quarter , though the intense coverage kept him from hauling in any of his late targets. He is going to get more attention and so far he is having an issue with it. He and the offense will have to make some adjustments going forward but those late targets are a good sign that Ponder still trusts him when it counts.
2012 Week 5 vs TEN (7 / 4 / 23 / 1 rec)
Rudolph was primarily targeted as an outlet and had three short catches during the game as the Vikings did an excellent job sustaining drives. However, in the fourth quarter he made a difficult catch in double-coverage for a 15 yard touchdown. Rudolph spent much of the day in-line as a blocker as the Vikings rushed for 175 yards against the overwhelmed Tennessee defense. When he did run a route, it was often a quick out or slant to give quarterback Christian Ponder a short outlet option should he come under duress. Had the Titans pass-rush been more effective Rudolph would have likely seen more targets.
2012 Week 6 vs WAS (11 / 6 / 56 / 1 rec)
Christian Ponder continues to look for his tight end with great frequency, second only to Percy Harvin in the targeting pecking order. While Rudolph will occasionally drop a ball or two, he has vastly improved both his ability to catch and his route running--though his run and pass blocking is still a little shaky. Most of his targets came in the last quarter, including a reception for a two point conversion and a one yard touchdown. On the touchdown, Rudolph was lined up on the left edge of the offensive line. He engaged in a block, but quickly released the defender and ran for the back corner of the end zone. Nobody followed him and Ponder had an easy pass for the touchdown. The two point conversion was a much more impressive catch as Rudolph went to the back of the end zone and Ponder put the ball high up where only the six foot six inch Rudolph could get it--and even then the tight end had to make a leaping grab. If the Vivkings can keep using his size, he will continue to be a deadly end zone threat.
2012 Week 7 vs ARI (4 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was held without a catch for the first time this year, not so much because of his own poor play, but because of both game plan and Ponder's inconsistencies. Rudolph was the target of Ponder's first interception, but the throw was both above and behind the tight end; he had no chance to readjust. In the red zone, his presence actually pulled a defender away from Percy Harvin, giving the wide receiver enough space to catch and run for a touchdown. Ponder did try forcing the ball to Rudolph once, as Adrian Wilson had very tight coverage on a slant and was able to slap the ball away. Soon after Ponder was flushed from the pocket and overthrew the tight end yet again. The only time the two were able to connect was a great run and catch down the right sideline, where Rudolph showed a surprising amount of speed and was able to gain 19 yards. However, the play was called back because of an illegal formation. With the pass rush from the Arizona defense mounting and the run game working so well, Rudolph often found himself blocking as opposed to running routes.
2012 Week 8 vs TB (2 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was invisible for long stretches against Tampa Bay. His first target did not come until late in the first half. He was in a mismatch against a defensive back, winning easily to convert a third down. His next involvement in the passing game did not arrive until garbage time late in the game. The Vikings did not have many chances in the red zone, where Rudolph has dominated defenses this season. Harvin and Simpson were the targets of choice for Ponder. Kyle Rudolph is a very promising, but still developing, tight end on a team that relies on the run game. Expect a high level of weekly fluctuation in his fantasy production that will depend on the volume of Minnesota's trips to the red zone in a given game.
2012 Week 9 vs SEA (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Not only was Rudolph non-existent in the passing game, he was also crushed by Red Bryant while trying to run block, resulting in Adrian Peterson losing yardage. The one time a football did hit Rudolph's hands, Ponder was rolling out and under threw the tight end, and Rudolph couldn't get low enough to catch the short ball. When Rudolph was able to release from the line of scrimmage, he was unable to shake coverage or find open space. Since the Seattle pass rush was relentless, these tight end routes were scrapped in favor of an extra blocker to keep pressure off of Ponder.
2012 Week 10 vs DET (9 / 7 / 64 / 1 rec)
Rudolph's first reception came against off coverage underneath on third and 23. His second reception was a quick pass into the flat when he was immediately tackled for a loss, but he immediately caught a crossing route for 12 yards and a first down afterwards. On first and 10 to start the third quarter, Rudolph stayed in his route after Ponder was flushed from the pocket to catch a four yard pass running towards the sideline. Rudolph really showed off his talents on a third and 3 play when he only gained 3 yards. As the pass rush got to Ponder, he looked to his big tight end who was well covered. However, Rudolph's size allowed him to outmuscle the defender for position, before he snatched the ball out of the air and dragged him forward for a first down. Rudolph was showing off excellent hands all day, he caught another pass over the middle with one defender draped on his back and another in the vicinity of the football. The play went for a first down and close to 20 yards. Rudolph came back two plays later with a 20 yard reception that went for a touchdown. He lost his defender running across the field towards the sideline, before using a blocker to waltz into the endzone with ease.
2012 Week 12 vs CHI (9 / 5 / 55 / 1 rec)
Rudolph has a solid game for the Vikings before leaving in the 4th quarter due to a concussion. His status for next week's game is in question. Rudolph was Christian Ponder's safety valve in this game, and then the Bears were applying good pressure, Ponder looked to Rudolph to get out of trouble. Rudolph's first catch turned out to be the biggest offensive play of the day for either team. In the second quarter, Ponder faked to Peterson going one way, and then rolled out to the other side of the field with Rudolph in the flat. Ponder flipped him the ball and he had a great 25 yard catch and run because the Bears were over-focused on Peterson. A few plays later, Ponder threw a jump ball to Rudolph in the end zone but it was broken up and the Vikings had to settle for a field goal attempt (that was blocked). In the second quarter, on 3rd and 1 from the Chicago 15, Ponder ran the same play action to Peterson and Rudolph was again wide open for a 13 yard catch and run. With first and goal from the two, the Vikings ran the same play to the opposite side of the field and for the third time Rudolph was wide open for the easy TD reception. Late in the third quarter, Rudolph made a great catch on a sideline route on 3rd and 4 to give the Vikings a 1st down. It was his final catch of the day before leaving the game.
2012 Week 13 vs GB (8 / 6 / 51 / 1 rec)
Aside from Adrian Peterson, the only player who made a significant contribution to the offense was Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph caught almost everything that came his way, including a ridiculous one handed grab in the second quarter on a short out which showed his incredible hands and athleticism. On the play, Rudolph was set up off the right tackle and immediately at the snap, cut across the line on a drag route. He had great inside position on Packers linebacker AJ Hawk, leaving Rudolph essentially wide open. Christian Ponder has all the time in the world, but ends up doing what Ponder often does, which is throwing high and behind Rudolph. The tight end reaches back with his left hand, almost casually, grabs the ball and brings it in for a catch. This is one of the many reasons Ponder will lock onto Rudolph at times--even his worst throws, Rudolph finds a way to catch them. Similarly on Rudolph's touchdown, the throw was a bit ill-conceived (Rudolph was bracketed by two defenders and the ball never should have reached him) but Ponder was able to make just enough of a good throw to give Rudolph a chance to score. Unfortunately, that tendency to throw to Rudolph in traffic bit the Vikings in the rear end during the last play of the third quarter as Ponder tried to beat safety Morgan Burnett with a throw to Rudolph and instead threw an interception. Rudolph had good position, and Burnett made a great play on the ball, but Ponder's throw was again too slow getting to Rudolph.
2012 Week 14 vs CHI (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rudolph was targeted a couple times in the fourth quarter but he finished the game without a catch. He just wasn't a big part of the game plan after the Vikings opened up a 14-0 lead.
2012 Week 15 vs STL (4 / 3 / 22 / 0 rec)
Rudolph caught Ponder's first pass of the day open on a play-action bootleg underneath. He ran away from the defender for a first down. Rudolph's second reception came on exactly the same play at the start of the third quarter except to the other side of the field.
2012 Week 16 vs HOU (6 / 3 / 39 / 1 rec)
As has been the case all year, when Christian Ponder is able to make a big throw, it is often Kyle Rudolph on the receiving end. Against the Texans was no different as Rudolph caught a 4 yard pass for a touchdown that put the Vikings ahead for good. On the play, Ponder faked play action and rolled to the left. Rudolph chipped his man at the line of scrimmage before running an out pattern to the left side of the end zone. Ponder threw him an accurate pass for the easy score. Rudolph also had a 27 yard reception on an out pattern from the right seam. Even though the Vikings offense doesn't call on Rudolph to be a large part of things, it is clear that Ponder trusts him and the two have a great rapport, particularly in the red zone.
2012 Week 17 vs GB (6 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
Rudolph's first reception was a crossing route off of play-action that went for 10 yards. After letting a fastball in the flat go through his hands, Rudolph beat safety Jeron McMillian in single coverage of the middle for 10 yards on second and 10. Rudolph drew a holding penalty against single coverage in the endzone in the third quarter.
2012 Week 18 vs GB (3 / 3 / 42 / 0 rec)
Rudolph's first reception came in the flat off of play action for a gain of six as he beat a defender to the sideline. Ponder caught a deep crossing route for 15 yards on first and 10. He caught the ball just before absorbing a hit from an arriving safety. Rudolph caught a 30+ yard pass in the dying seconds against prevent defense that was the final play of the game.
2011 Week 2 vs TB (1 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec)
Rudolph had a nice 15 yard catch and run late in the second quarter. He lined up as the #2 TE in the double TE sets for this game, but he was only targeted the one time. He has good speed in the open field, but won't be an important part of this offense unless Shiancoe goes down to injury.
2011 Week 3 vs DET (3 / 3 / 39 / 0 rec)
Rudolph made a few key receptions, including back-to-back catches to set up the Peterson TD and a 20-yarder to get the Vikings into FG range with 1:40 to go in regulation.
2011 Week 4 vs KC (4 / 3 / 44 / 0 rec)
His 41 yard catch was really about a 7 yard out. When Rudolph turned up field there was nothing but green and he ran unabated for about 3o yards before a Chief came near him. What's deceiving is that his catch for -2 yards was actually a much more difficult one handed grab (McNabb threw it behind him) but he was clocked before he even had a chance to turn. Also had a Shiancoe-like 5 yard grab but unlike most of Shiancoe's catches, Rudolph was short of the marker.
2011 Week 6 vs CHI (3 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
The rookie TE was able to provide a little spark after being shut out last week against Arizona. As the backup TE, he doesn't get in much, but he was able to contribute a couple receptions in this game. The first was a short screen in the first quarter that was sniffed out and stopped for only a two yard gain. The other one however, was a nice 18 yard reception on the following series. Rudolph ran a deep corner route and McNabb was able to hit him for a bit gain. Rudolph used his size and soft hands to jump up and come down with the ball, turning upfield after the reception for another five yards after the catch.
2011 Week 7 vs GB (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The rookie was named as the second starting TE in this game, but ultimately the only 'action' he saw was late in the fourth quarter when Ponder was under pressure and he threw the ball away, but in the vicinity of Rudolph. Ponder was just looking to avoid pressure, and the 'target' was not really an attempted pass to Rudolph.
2011 Week 8 vs CAR (5 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
Kyle Rudolph was the second tight end for Ponder, but on one play his big frame was utilised on the outside as he lined up as a wideout and caught a quick slant for 13 yards. Rudolph was also targeted down the sideline but the pass was too far out of bounds to be caught. Rudolph is a good talent at the TE position but he will remain marginal as an option in fantasy leagues until he and this offense develop more.
2011 Week 10 vs GB (3 / 3 / 37 / 0 rec)
Was a check down on a pass play for Ponder. Rudolph had missed some time for injuries but is now finding his way back on to the field. Rudolph caught 2 passes in succession on the final drive of the game for the Vikings, one a spectacular one-handed catch.
2011 Week 11 vs OAK (5 / 3 / 7 / 1 rec)
Rudolph was targeted five times in this game, but none of them were for more than just a couple yards. In the first quarter, Ponder had two short roll-out passes to Rudolph, both for less than five yards each. He was also targeted in the 4th when the Vikings were trying to get back into the game and were down to the 1 yard line. Rudolph motioned from right to left pre-snap. However, when Ponder took the snap and dropped back, Rudolph scraped back behind the OL to the right and broke into the open field once he was by the right tackle. The defense lost track of him down by the goal line and he was wide open for an easy score from Ponder.
2011 Week 13 vs DEN (1 / 1 / 19 / 1 rec)
Rudolph drew pass interference penalties on two would-be touchdown passes, but only one was enforced because he made a brilliant catch for the touchdown on the second, leaping over 2 defenders and catching the ball with his fingertips at the top of his jump for the 17-yard score.
2011 Week 14 vs DET (4 / 1 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rudolph had a couple missed opportunities that might have resulted in an OK day from a fantasy prospective, but he dropped a pass over the middle from Ponder just before half time and Webb overthrew him when he was wide open in the fourth quarter. Rudolph did have one reception just before the end of the game - a quick check-down where he was tackled immediately for no gain.
2011 Week 15 vs NO (2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
Rudolph only mustered a couple of short catches in garbage time.
2011 Week 16 vs WAS (2 / 2 / 23 / 1 rec)
Rudolph scored his 3rd TD of the season, and he continues to impress. He only had two targets but made the most of them by converting both. The TD catch was a nice one, as he broke free from the LB in coverage, and Rudolph showed some really nice soft hands on the 17 yard TD catch. Rudolph should continue to earn more playing time with good plays like this. It seems we are seeing a changing of the guard at tight end for this team.
2011 Week 17 vs CHI (4 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
Rudolph had a rough day after dropping a ball that was behind him to start the game. Every time he caught the ball it was for a short gain and he was lit up after the play. He was not targeted on the intermediate routes that Visanthe Shiancoe has seen so much of this season.