Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph made some serious strides during his second NFL season.
Rudolph caught 53 passes and scored nine touchdowns during the regular season and then was named MVP of the Pro Bowl after catching five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in Hawaii. Coach Leslie Frazier believes that Rudolph is just starting to scratch the surface of his abilities.
“I try not to get too far ahead of myself, but the Kyle Rudolph that I see now is so much more confident and surer of himself than the Kyle I saw a year ago at this time,” Frazier said, via the team’s website. “It’s like night and day to me, personally. I’m anxious to see how he does when we get to training camp from a blocking standpoint, but that Pro Bowl, it’s flipped the switch. He knows he has a chance to be a premier tight end in this league after what he did over there being MVP and it’s evident by the way he’s practicing, the way he runs his routes, the control he has in the meetings.”
The Vikings took steps to bolster their receiving corps by signing Greg Jennings and drafting Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round, but the uneven record of rookie receivers makes it necessary to not put all of their eggs in that basket. Continued growth for Rudolph would allow Patterson to settle into the NFL without the offense being overly reliant on his quick development.