Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a pass as Carolina Panthers safety Quintin Mikell (27) tackles him in the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Panthers win 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Rudolph To Benefit From New Offensive Coordinator


Lately, Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has seen a lot of love from sportswriters.  There’s a good reason for that.  Not only is Rudolph tall, athletic and a superstar when healthy, but he has a new offensive coordinator that loves to include a lot of plays for tight ends to get the ball.

Recently, I wrote an article about 3 Minnesota Vikings players who are due for breakout years and included Kyle Rudolph.  NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks one-upped me and put Rudolph his his list of five players who will benefit from having new offensive coordinators.

Here is what Bucky Brooks had to say about Rudolph in the NFL.com article:

Nov 11, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) tacklers Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) on a catch in the third quarter at the Metrodome. The Vikings win 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a coincidence that Jordan CameronAntonio Gates and Jay Novacek all enjoyed Pro Bowl seasons under Norv Turner. The Vikings’ new offensive coordinator loves to feature the tight end prominently in a vertical passing game. Simply consider the numbers. During the six seasons Gates played for Turner in San Diego, the tight end recorded 377 receptions for 4,943 yards and 49 touchdowns. Novacek’s numbers in three seasons with Turner as his offensive coordinator: 171 receptions for 1,739 yards and 11 scores. (Remember, that was a different era — those numbers are legit.) And with Turner calling plays in Cleveland last season, Cameron caught 80 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns.

Thus, it’s reasonable to expect Rudolph will be a big part of the Vikings’ game plan as the primary target between the hashes. Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds with long arms and big mitts, Rudolph is a masterful post-up player with a feel for creating space over the middle through physicality and toughness. Additionally, he is a viable red-zone target with a knack for working free near the end line on seams, post routes and corners. With each of those concepts featured heavily in Turner’s scheme, Rudolph definitely should set career-best marks this season.

That is a lot of love for both Kyle Rudolph and new Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner, but it is hard to disagree with anything that Brooks wrote in this article.  If he can stay healthy, Rudolph could be in line for double digit touchdowns and over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

The former Pro Bowl MVP has some pretty high expectations going into this year.  Can he deliver anywhere near the kind of production that folks believe he is capable of this year?

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Tags: Antonio Gates Jay Novacek Jordan Cameron Kyle Rudolph Norv Turner

  • Turdd Ferguson

    It’d be smart of the Vikings to lock him up before he puts up those numbers, or they’ll be paying a hell of a lot more….

    • MikeH123

      Trouble is Rudolph has already proclamed himself as the best TE in the NFL with the implication he deserves Jimmy Graham money. Better to let him prove it.

      • kyle

        Show me a link that proves he proclaimed himself as the league’s best TE. He’s a confident player, but never have I ever heard him being arrogant like that. You prove me wrong and I’ll eat my words.

        • Mark Van Dorp

          He said he’s on the same level as graham if I’m not mistaken. Still a very very bold claim haha

          • kyle

            He very well could put up Jimmy Graham type numbers this year with Turner as the OC. His offense has always been tight end friendly. I’d rather have him locked up prior to the end of the season and save some money for Fusco than pay him $7-8M after a breakout year.

          • MikeH123

            Just don’t line up Kyle Rudolph out wide (like Graham) or he’ll hold out for WR money (like Graham).

          • kyle

            Turner is notorious for that. He uses 22 personnel (2 WR, 2TE, 1 RB) frequently, but in a different way. I’d expect Rudolph to be the slot receiver in some formations. That’s a mismatch for most corners, linebackers or safeties to cover and he will be a properly used weapon in this offense. I expect big things from Rudolph this year.

        • MikeH123

          This web site doesn’t post links without moderation (and they are very slow if ever approving).
          Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph says he’s NFL’s best tight end
          Chris Tomasson
          Pioneer Press
          04/02/2014

      • Bob E.

        He was asked if he thinks he is one of the best. What’s he gonna say?… Nope, I suck! My Pro Bowl season was a fluke! Thanks for asking!… Ya know mike the Packers have a page on this site, why not go bless them with your wisdom.

        • MikeH123

          Kyle was asked who is the best TE and he answered me.

          • Bob E.

            And I ask again… What is he supposed to say? Someone else? That shows confidence. Rudy has been a security blanket for shitty Quarterbacking for three years, he hasn’t had a chance to prove how good he really is without a franchise QB to get him the ball. He had a Pro Bowl season under Ponder and his duck throws, what kind of numbers do you think he will put up with a good QB at the helm?

          • MikeH123

            Rudolph should be more modest until he proves himself. He has only 109 catches for 1055 yards and 15 TDs in 3 years; compared to Jimmy Graham who had 86 catches for 1215 yards and 16 TDs last year alone.

  • Don Andrew Halvorson

    You heard me out. Cool article.

    • https://www.facebook.com/PurplePeoplePodcast Adam Carlson

      You know it. Plus, NFL.com kind of beat me to it.

  • Bob T

    Something not mentioned…. He’s only 24. SKOL VIKINGS

  • Cool Jack

    Boy…looking forward to this guys talent….and the Vikings showing what a good team they have with great coaching…SKOL VIKINGS….!