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

• Wally Ellenson, who finished second in the high jump at the U.S. junior track and field championships and qualified for the Pam Am Games in August in Colombia, expects to continue competing in both basketball as well as track and field under new Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino.

• Cretin-Derham Hall defensive end Jashon Cornell is ranked as the No. 1 football recruit in the country for the class of 2015, according to ESPN.com. Cornell, listed at 6-3 and 238 pounds, will be visiting the Gophers this weekend but also has visited Notre Dame, were several former Raiders players have attended.

• Jeff Jones, the Gophers running back recruit from Minneapolis Washburn who is the top rated player in the state for the class of 2014, recently participated in the Opening, perhaps the biggest football camp in the country, held at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Jones received an invitation after winning the running back MVP honors at the Nike Football Training Camp in Chicago.

• Twins first-round draft pick Kohl Stewart has a 1.13 ERA over eight innings in his first three games with the Gulf Coast League Twins. The 18-year-old righthander, drafted fourth overall this year, has seven strikeouts to five hits and one walk. ESPN.com baseball writer Keith Law recently ranked Stewart as the 30th best prospect in baseball.

• Rashad Vaughn, the former Cooper High School basketball standout who is now with Findlay Prep in Nevada, is playing at the Nike Global Games for USA Midwest. Vaughn went 6-for-14 from the field and scored 14 points in a victory over Brazil on Thursday. Last week, Vaughn had a standout performance and shared MVP honors at the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia, scoring 33 points while hitting nine three-pointers.



 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close