Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings #82

Minnesota Vikings #82

Kyle Daniel Rudolph was born on November 9th in Cincinnati, Ohio.

His college days were spent representing the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame University in Indiana. In his freshman season, Rudolph became the first freshman to start all 13 games and the first to start a season opener. He finished the season with 29 receptions for a total of 340 yards and two touchdowns.

In his sophomore season, Kyle posted better stats despite only starting ten games (three fewer than the previous season) due to a shoulder injury. He managed 33 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns.

His junior year was cut short just six games in with a hamstring injury that ended the season for him. Despite this, he still posted 28 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns – one of which was a 95 yarder!

Following his last injury-hit season, he decided not to play his senior year at college and instead entered the 2011 NFL Draft. He left Notre Dame holding the Notre Dame record for most yards in a single game for his position (164 yards) and was only the fourth Notre Dame tight end to break the 1,000-yard barrier.

The Minnesota Vikings drafter Rudolph as the 43rd overall pick and became the second-highest drafted Viking tight end in the process. In his rookie season, he started eight games and posted 26 receptions for 249 yards and three touchdowns.

This was followed by an impressive second season during which he started all sixteen games, had 53 receptions from 93 targets, whilst averaging 9.3 yards per reception. He also scored nine touchdowns which is one short of a Vikings franchise record for a tight end. A disappointing 2013 followed in which Kyle was placed on the Injured Reserve (IR) list after eight games of the season.

Better news followed for him the following season when the Vikings awarded him a new five-year contract extension worth over $36m. Injury again curtailed his progress and he played in just nine games that season, posting 24 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns.

His best season for the Vikings so far came in 2016, where he posted figures of 83 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2019, the Vikings again showed faith in Rudolph, as they extended his contract by a further four years for $36m.

In his pro-career to date, Rudolph has played nine seasons, starting 120 games with 425 receptions for 4,154 yards and 47 touchdowns. He has also featured twice in the Pro Bowl – 2014 and 2017.