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Kyle Rudolph's reality as a blocker is no fantasy

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had a busy day Sunday.

As a blocker.

As a pass catcher? Not so much.

He was targeted four times, catching two passes for seven yards in the 23-20 loss at Denver. That brought his four-game totals to 14 catches, which ranks 67th in the league, for 104 yards, which ranks outside the top 100.

But the big guy isn’t whining because it appears that he understands the full scope of the tight end position. He gets the part of the job that the Fantasy Football Leaguers don’t.

“The [pass rush] we just played is probably one of the best in football and when we do stuff like that, I’m required to be in more helping our offensive line with protection,” Rudolph said. “There will be plenty of opportunities for me down the road to catch footballs. As a tight end, there can be so many different responsibilities outside of just catching the ball, even though it seems like everybody on the outside only bases our success on receptions.”

Run blocking on a team with Adrian Peterson also takes on added importance for tight ends.

“Since I’ve been here and since 28 has been in the backfield, there’s always blocking responsibilities,” Rudolph said. “I think back to 2012 [when Peterson ran for 2,097 yards], we probably ran the ball better than any team ever. That was the way it was. In order for us to get to the playoffs that year, we had to win the last four games. We did that by running the football.”

Of course, Rudolph also is happy to be healthy. A year ago, he didn’t make it to Week 4. He played the first three games and then missed eight weeks because of a sports hernia surgery.

Look for Rudolph to catch more passes eventually. But right now, with Peterson returning, Mike Wallace emerging and the offensive line still adjusting to two lost starters, it’s going to take a little time for offensive coordinator Norv Turner to work through some kinks.

Spielman on Walsh, Cordarrelle, AP, Bridgewater and more

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman dropped the news of the Gerald Hodges trade to San Francisco at the outset of his annual bye-week media session with local reporters.

He spoke for about half an hour. Here are some of the other highlights:

— On whether he would consider bringing in kickers to compete with the struggling Blair Walsh doesn’t improve: “Blair is going through a little bit of a slump here now, but I think there’s no question that he’s our kicker. … Blair is working extremely hard to get through this. We’re doing everything we can with [special teams coordinator Mike] Priefer to get through this. People forget Blair a couple years ago was a young kicker who was in the Pro Bowl. Sometimes these guys go through issues. All of a sudden, [punter] Jeff Locke had some struggles last year and this year he’s punting lights out right now. Part of having young players is sometimes you’re going to have to get them through that adversity. Blair Walsh is our kicker.”

— On how Adrian Peterson has re-adjusted to the the Vikings’ offense and the NFL: “We didn’t have him last year, so that’s part of the process our coaches are going through. It’s, ‘OK, what do we do well?’ I think what Adrian has shown through these first four games is he looks like Adrian Peterson. That [48-yard touchdown] run he had in the Denver game, once he hit that crease, I didn’t see him with less speed that I saw before.”

— On Cordarrelle Patterson’s progress or lack thereof: “He’s made so many strides since a year ago and he continues to make strides. As these coaches evaluated our personnel, the one thing Zim always preaches is team comes first before any stats. As our guys are learning these players, they have a pretty good feel but they’re still, you know, ‘What are we?’ because now you have an Adrian Peterson in your backfield. With Cordarrelle, you can’t ask for a kid that’s working as hard as he can. And there are specific packages that he may be involved with. These guys are trying to put personnel together with specific packages.”

— On why rookie Stefon Diggs can come in and be targeted 10 times and be such a big part of the offense in his first game while Patterson continues to be such a small part or no part of the offense: “The coaches are really trying to identify strengths. Diggs had a productive days, but there are a lot of things he can improve on as well.”

— On receiver Mike Wallace, who didn’t practice today: “He was here. Is there an injury report this week?” Spielman didn’t reveal what kind of injury Wallace has.

— On his impressions on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater through his first 16 NFL games: “He’s continuing to progress. The [Denver] game, especially in the second half, when we had to throw the ball, I think he went 13 for 15 for 131 yards and no turnovers. That’s a sign of a young guy maturing. Like I said, if we can just push it over the edge a little more. And Teddy is probably the most unselfish football player on this team. If he’s only going to throw the ball 18 times, he could care less as long as we win the game.”

— On what’s next for Bridgewater: “Just continuing on the direction he’s going. He’s just going to get more and more comfortable as we go forward. The thing he’s really doing a good job on is, I think, two third-and-10 situations in this last game, he made plays with his legs to keep drives alive. He’s been very good with his decisions. … We’re very excited about the direction he’s been going, and he’s only going to get better with the more experience and the more games he’s going to get.”

— On rookie first-round draft pick Trae Waynes: “To see these young guys getting their feet wet as they go through special teams and then Trae , when he had to step in for that San Diego game [for the injured Xavier Rhodes]. From where he was in that Hall of Fame game to where he is now, it’s night and day. But that’s the normal progression you see in a lot of these rookies, especially at certain positions.”

Final, 10/4 1 2 3 4 F
Minnesota 2-2 0 10 0 10 20
Denver 4-0 3 10 7 3 23

Today's Scoreboard

  • Texas



    - F



  • Houston

    Kansas City


    - Bot 7th



  • Indianapolis



    - 4th, 12:05



  • Winnipeg



    - F



  • Ottawa



    - F



  • Philadelphia

    Tampa Bay


    - F



  • Carolina



    - F



  • Edmonton

    St. Louis


    - F



  • Pittsburgh



    - 3rd, 13:45



  • Minnesota



    - 2nd, 2:10



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