Kyle Rudolph knows his receiving numbers are down. That’s because he has millions of fantasy football players to remind him on social media.
“Unfortunately, fantasy football does not count run-blocking and pass-blocking,” the Vikings tight end said Friday. “Obviously, I’d love to be running around catching a bunch of balls for yards and touchdowns. But we have a great running back and we’re a physical team that’s going to run the football.”
The Vikings have relied on Adrian Peterson and their second-ranked rushing attack to move the ball on offense. And when they have thrown the ball, they have sometimes asked their tight ends to help out with blocking, even if it’s just throwing a shoulder into a pass rusher on their way downfield.
As a result, Rudolph has been used as a blocker on 49.1 percent of his snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. That is his highest frequency since 2012, when he helped pave the way for Peterson to rush for 2,097 yards.
“If that’s what I’m called upon to do, that’s what I’ve got to go out there and do,” Rudolph said. “If that’s what’s going to help us win football games, if that’s the identity of our football team, then I want to be a part of it.”
Rudolph has 14 catches for just 104 receiving yards and one touchdown through four games. In the Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, he caught only two passes for 7 yards despite running 43 routes as a receiver.
But offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Thursday that he thinks it’s only a matter of time until Rudolph makes fantasy football players happy.
“My experience, particularly in this system, is that things go in cycles,” Turner said. “Through 16 games, you’re going to have a lot of different people contribute, and that’s just the way it tends to work in this league.”
Robinson nears return
After Friday’s practice, cornerback Josh Robinson, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since July, was one of a few players to sprint inside the building to either escape the cold or get their hands on the barbecued pork being served up inside the locker room.
Robinson, who partly tore his pectoral muscle in the spring, had just spent the morning running on his own, then watching his teammates practice without him, which has been his routine the past couple of months.
“You just try to get better and I can’t wait to get back out there,” he said.
Robinson might not have to wait much longer. He could join his Vikings teammates on the Winter Park practice fields as early as Wednesday.
According to NFL rules, the Vikings have a five-week window, which starts next week, to activate Robinson from the PUP list. Once they do, they have three weeks to add him to their 53-man roster. But Robinson, who said he felt “pretty good” on Friday, is optimistic that he will be cleared to suit up soon.
Wide receivers Mike Wallace (knee) and Jarius Wright (hand) have been listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Fellow wideout Charles Johnson (rib) is questionable after three consecutive practices with limited activity. All three are expected to be available Sunday.
Tight end Rhett Ellison (knee) and cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder) are also listed as probable. Safety Andrew Sendejo (knee) is questionable.
The Vikings have ruled out defensive end Justin Trattou (ankle) for Sunday.
Either or …
This spring, as the Vikings were finalizing their draft board, they liked what they saw from Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. They liked Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes more, though, and ultimately selected him with their 11th overall pick. Peters went seven picks later to the Chiefs.
While Waynes is the team’s fourth cornerback at the moment, Peters has made an immediate impact for Kansas City, starting all five games. Peters has broken up eight passes and recorded two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown after picking off Denver’s Peyton Manning.
“I think he’s a very good player,” Zimmer said of Peters. “He’s a very, very good athlete.”