Kyle Rudolph named Vikings’ Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /

The Minnesota Vikings released a video entitled “Dear Kyle,” to announce the tight end’s nomination which shows him reading letters from those he’s impacted.

As we head into the latter stages of the year, it’s a good time to reflect and focus on the giving nature of the holiday season. That reflection is also shared by the NFL as they try to dwindle down the field for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which honors a player’s volunteer and charity work as well as his excellence on the field.

The award was established back in 1970, but has gained more steam in recent years with Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton’s namesake being added to the award in 1999. Previous award winners began donning a patch of the trophy on their uniform beginning last season.

All 32 teams will name a representative for the award and on Thursday, the Minnesota Vikings declared tight end Kyle Rudolph as their nominee. To announce the occasion, the Vikings released a video entitled “Dear Kyle,” which shows Rudolph reading letters to those he has touched during his time with the team.

The letters range from a patient at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital that was treated to a game in a suite from Rudolph to owner Mark Wilf, who commended the way he has represented the organization since he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

As the video further details his frequent trips to the U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital and his playground in the same building that opened last winter named “Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone,” Rudolph begins to tear up as he sees the impact that he’s made on others’ lives.

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All 32 representatives will be honored at the NFL Honors at Fox Theatre in Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend and $500,000 will be donated in their honor including $250,000 to expand Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program and the other $250,000 going to the charity of their choice.