Hartman: Rudolph has faith in Vikings offense

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2013 - 11:50 PM

The Vikings tight end, coming off a strong season, sees improvement in 2013.

hide

Kyle Rudolph's second NFL season ended with an MVP trophy from the Pro Bowl after the Vikings tight end had five receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown in the NFC's 62-35 victory over the AFC on Jan. 27 in Honolulu.

Photo: MARCO GARCIA, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings open practice Friday in Mankato. One individual who could play a big part in whether the team returns to the postseason is tight end Kyle Rudolph, who had a great year in 2012, catching 53 passes for 493 yards and nine touchdowns in his second NFL season, then capped it off by being named the Most Valuable Player in the Pro Bowl.

“You know it was just an honor to be over there and playing in that game with some of the best players, the top-notch players in our game,” Rudolph, 23, said about the experience in Hawaii. “I wanted to play well and have a good time. I never would have excepted to be named MVP of the game, but being out there and playing with those guys definitely gave me some confidence to carry on into next year. It was a tremendous honor.”

Even though the Vikings lost the great Percy Harvin to Seattle, the 6-6, 258-pound Rudolph believes the receiving corps on the team will be much improved over last year.

“With the addition of Greg Jennings [from Green Bay], he brings a ton not only on the field — for the last how many years we’ve seen what Greg can do on the field, with him being in our division — and now we have him on our team,” Rudolph said. “But it is also what he brings into the locker room and how he’s able to mentor the younger wide receivers. We have a very young wide receiver corps, and Greg does a tremendous job with them as well.”

Rudolph has been impressed by first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson, who, like Jennings, impressed everybody in offseason practices.

“Cordarrelle has been very special,” Rudolph said. “He’s one of those raw-talent kind of guys, big, fast. He’s really put in the time and the effort to learn the playbook and be able to be around Greg and just absorb all kinds of knowledge from Greg. We really expect a lot out of Cordarrelle this year.”

Rudolph leads a tight end group that also includes fellow Notre Dame product John Carlson and second-year player Rhett Ellison.

“He looked really good this offseason,” Rudolph said of Carlson. “We think John will be a big part in our success on offense this year. John is the kind of guy that I’ve looked up to my whole career and has been a great influence on me as a tight end.”

As for Ellison, Rudolph said: “Rhett has done a phenomenal job, coming in last year with not only what he did on offense but playing in all four phases of special teams. He’s just that kind of football player that comes in and works hard and does whatever you ask of him.”

Asked how he rated the performance of quarterback Christian Ponder since the end of the season, Rudolph said: “He’s definitely put in the work this offseason and continued to get better. I think that full season of being a starting quarterback, the highs and the lows, have definitely helped him to get where he is today.”

Rudolph is known for being a great pass-catching tight end, and certainly that’s why he was invited to the Pro Bowl. But he said he knows the responsibilities that come with blocking in Bill Musgrave’s offense, especially since he and the offensive linemen are responsible for making room for Adrian Peterson.

“Our identity as an offense is running the football,” Rudolph said. “We feel like we have the best running back in the game, and we really pride ourselves in being a key part in that running game. Anytime a number is called where Adrian is going to be running behind us and we have a key block, we really take pride in making sure we get that done.”

Rudolph is confident the Vikings did the things necessary this offseason to take a step forward. “We feel like we’re moving in the right direction and doing the appropriate things here [before the regular season] to set ourselves up to be successful next year,” he said.

Gophers camp well-attended

As usual, Jerry Kill and his Gophers football coaches played host to several camps this summer, and what was interesting was the number of players from out-of-state who attended. The homes of the campers indicates how focused on national recruiting the Gophers staff is.

The Gophers held their final senior camp on Friday, and there was a wide range of states represented. Of the 94 high school seniors who were preregistered for the camp, 48 were from Minnesota, 21 were from Wisconsin, 12 were from Illinois, three were from North Dakota, two were from Ohio, two were from Iowa and there was one apiece from Texas, Indiana, South Dakota, Missouri, Utah and Kansas.

On top of that, players from Minnesota, Louisiana, Alabama, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin and even Quebec attended camps over the summer. The Gophers also held a junior camp on Saturday with several out-of-state players attending. Kill has to be happy with the big turnout from around the country.

Jottings

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia - LP: M. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Doolittle 8
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 2
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Calgary 1 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Edmonton 0 FINAL
Calgary 1
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close