If you thought Kyle Rudolph’s ascension to become Pro Bowl MVP in January came out of the blue, then what would you think if we alerted you to the promise that Rudolph is suddenly showing as a cricket player?
This week, as part of an overseas trip to Ireland and England to promote the Vikings’ Sept. 29 game against the Steelers in London, Rudolph, Harrison Smith and John Sullivan have all been expanding their horizons. On Wednesday, that included a visit with the Yorkshire Vikings cricket club in Headingley.
According to a press release from the UK, three Yorkshire Vikings – Phil Jacques, Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks – spent time teaching the trio of Minnesota Vikings about the nuances of cricket. And then Rudolph, Smith and Sullivan were allowed to test their skills.
From the official press release (courtesy of Yorkshire Vikings Head of Media Danny Reuben), Rudolph showed “he can bat with the best.”
More from that release ...
Plunkett, Yorkshire’s new signing for this year and an England international, showed Rudolph the basics and within a few balls he was middling the ball with ease.
The most impressive aspect of his net was smacking the ball through the covers with the bowling machine ramped up to 99 mph - even Plunkett was in awe of Rudolph’s hand-to-eye coordination.
“I was very surprised how good Kyle’s (Rudolph) batting was,” said Plunkett. “Boy he could hit a ball. He creamed it a few times through the covers – he could well be a pinch hitter for the Vikings in this year’s Friends Life T20 competition. He could well follow in the footsteps of another famous Yorkshire player Jaques Rudolph."
Added Kyle Rudolph: “I didn’t know much about cricket before coming to Headingley today. This is a great tie up between two big sports organizations in Minnesota and Yorkshire. I will certainly be following the Yorkshire team this year, via social media, and hope they have a big season. We have been made to feel very welcome and love the Yorkshire hospitality.”
If you’re struggling too much to decipher what all that means, here are at least a couple photos from that event.