Kyle Rudolph – TE
Vikings fans were excited when Kyle Rudolph was given an extension by the team this offseason. There was talk that he could be released or traded, but Minnesota salary cap-guru, Rob Brzezinski, was able to work his contractual magic and bring the fan-favorite back with a team-friendly deal.
Fans were also excited to see how Rudolph would be used with new rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. Dreams of two-tight end packages with a mix of runs and getting these two down the seams against a linebacker were dancing in the heads of Purple lovers everywhere. For whatever reason though, that just hasn’t happened yet this year.
Through no fault of his own, Rudolph has been pretty much a forgotten piece of Minnesota’s offense this season. He has just nine receptions for 72 yards in six games this year. He’s had more than that in a single game before.
When the Vikings pass the ball they continuously target Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs or Dalvin Cook first. They have rarely targeted Rudolph in the red zone or when there is a key first down that needs to be converted.
This season, Rudolph has been getting a lot of tight end screens for some reason. That kind of play would make more sense for someone like Smith, who is the speedier of the two, but Rudolph has hauled in a handful of these.
They almost seem like sympathy targets for the veteran tight end and they are called just to get him a reception in a game.
Eventually, Rudolph should see more targets as he’s just too valuable a weapon to remain unused. For now though, his lack of production has been one of the more disappointing things about the early part of the Vikings’ 2019 season.