Kyle Rudolph’s hamstring sparks medical speculation


When Vikings coach Leslie Frazier joined PFT Live on the Monday after the 2011 draft, he gushed about the addition of Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph in round two.  Frazier said that Rudolph, who slid to the second round due in part to a serious hamstring injury suffered last year, has the potential to be a Pro Bowler early in his career.

But Rudolph’s performance at the NFL level hinges on the healing of the hamstring.  While Rudolph and the Vikings are confident that he’ll be back to 100 percent, but Tom Pelissero of has spoken with a medical expert who has provided a more guarded assessment.

Dr. J.R. Rudzki, who has worked with the St. Louis Rams and other professional sports teams, told Pelissero that patients suffering hamstring tendon avulsions “have roughly a 70 to 85 percent of being able to return to their desired level of sports activity.”

Added Rudzki regarding Rudolph, “For him, obviously, he has functional demands and an activity level as an elite professional athlete that are significant and leave little room for residual weakness.”

But as Pelissero points out, Rudzki hasn’t examined or treated Rudolph.  Vikings doctors and others have, with Rudolph being checked not once but twice by doctors in Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine and the subsequent medical re-check.  And Rudolph was able to perform sufficiently well at his Pro Day workout to help the Vikings feel comfortable about using a second-round pick on a position that, for now, is more of a luxury than it is a need.

Though this reality won’t stop Rudzki or other doctors from welcoming the chance to get their names in the media when given a chance to opine on the condition of athletes they haven’t examined, it’s an important fact to keep in mind when considering such comments.

44 responses to “Kyle Rudolph’s hamstring sparks medical speculation

  1. So, in other words, some doctor who has never examined Rudolph is saying that he may or may not be able to play football?

    Thanks for the riveting piece guys

  2. So this doctor has never met the guy but is speculating on his injury over the phone? Even Dr. Nick Riviera could do that, and he’d even throw in a state of Kansas jello mold.

  3. Guy with first round talent falls to second round because of a serious hamstring injury, doctor says there might be an issue with his hamstring, and you question the doctor that came up with the same conclusion that all of the team doctors came up with, which is that there is some risk in taking the guy. Helloooooo that’s why he went in the second round.

  4. Sometimes you just can’t heal back right, but in most cases athletes have better times healing than regular people.

    I’d expect Rudolph to be a great TE for Minnesota.

  5. Way to draft Minny. You drafted a slot WR/KR that misses tons of practice due to migraines and now you have a TE to sit next to him on the bench with a potentially bum hammy

    Does Minnesota know that players need to be on the field to be effective?

  6. Doctors who speculate on patients that they have not personally examined have a 75% to 80% chance of being full of crap.

  7. “I’d expect Rudolph to be a great TE for Minnesota”

    Well, let’s see – in order to catch balls you have to have a competent QB to throw them. Is Ponder that – I wouldn’t bet so – at least for the first few years.

    AND you need a quality OL to protect the QB – especially a YOUNG QB. MIN definitely doesn’t have that.

    I’m not worried about MIN for the next 5 years. At all.

  8. Lol so their first round pick is injury prone and the biggest reach of the draft. Then their second pick is already injured and might not recover. Nice draft for real…

  9. @Shaggydoodle, Considering Percy Harvin made ROY his 1st year and Pro Bowl his 2nd year and has missed a total of 3 games his whole career, they prob won’t mind if Rudolph turns out like him.

  10. kyle90 says:
    May 14, 2011 2:55 PM
    @Shaggydoodle, Considering Percy Harvin made ROY his 1st year and Pro Bowl his 2nd year and has missed a total of 3 games his whole career, they prob won’t mind if Rudolph turns out like him.

    The reason he made the pro bowl was because DeSean Jackson was named pro bowler @ 2 spots WR and KR.

    I guess if your happy that your TE goes to the pro bowl as a alternate to return kicks good for you.

    While Harvin may be a solid contributor you NEED practice and a lot of to be ELITE which he won’t be until he can be out with his team on the practice field

  11. No you’re right, ROY and Pro Bowler his 1st 2 seasons and he’s only “solid”.

  12. kyle90 says:
    May 14, 2011 3:31 PM
    No you’re right, ROY and Pro Bowler his 1st 2 seasons and he’s only “solid”.

    A guy with 11 recieving TDs in his career, and never more than 870 yards in a season, averaging 65 catches a season.

    That sounds like a solid player to me. Nothing more nothing less.

  13. Shaggypoodle I’m agreeing you, he’s only solid – his Rookie Of The Year award and Pro Bowl selection were really a conspiracy aimed at tricking the public into thinking he’s better than “solid”.

  14. What does Judge Judy have to say? On her tv show she is right every time. Take her words to the bank.

  15. “Though this reality won’t stop Rudzki or other doctors from welcoming the chance to get their names in the media when given a chance to opine on the condition of athletes they haven’t examined, it’s an important fact to keep in mind when considering such comments.”

    How’s that any different from a certain lawyer who postulates on the thinking of the judges & both sides in the labor dispute when he isn’t at negotiations or court proceedings?

    HI f lorio

  16. shaggy:
    1.) You are Adam of a team that drafted Justin Harrel in the FIRST round. TT knew he had a bad back.
    2.) You’re downplaying Percy because of his stats and missed games? Really? Really??
    Finely has missed 16 games in 3 years, yet he’s better than Gates…. god you turds are so hypocritical.
    you have no clue if Ponder will be good,bad, or average. None whatsoever.
    Don’t you ever get tired of looking like a fool? obviously not.
    House yourself in gas and throw a match.

  17. How would Ted Thompson know Harrell had a bad back when Harrell didn’t injure the back until his second season in the league? Saying Thompson can see the future? Judging by his drafts you’d almost think so…

    But folks are right in questioning this pick. Ponder has injury concerns so it’s risky. Why turn around in the second and pick this TE who also is an injury risk?

    It’s the kinda nonsense the vikes are just historically known for. The vikes have lots of needs why not take a safe pick in the second if you’re going to reach in the first?

    And yet some vike fans wonder why there is so little support from taxpayers and politicians… I dunno, just a guess, but most folks in Minnesota aren’t suckers and or idiots?

  18. Yes TT Missed on Harrell
    I forgive him as he assembled a team that won a superbowl and could make a couple more runs at it in the near future.

    I never said Finley was better than Gates.
    You look like a fool when you spaz out like you did claiming things that I have never said.

    He goes to a pro bowl as an alternate so he wasn’t the first choice.

    If he would show me he was a better player by getting over 1000 rec. yards maybe even 900 or double digit rec. TDs I would think more of he was a better player or if possibly could help contribute enough to help his team win more than 6 games last season. I would be more likely to he is the game changer you make him out to be.

    Greg Jennings had 5 more catches than him last year. Jennings had 400 more yards and 7 more TDs. He is more explosive than Harvin and it shows.

    As your old coach said though if you wanna crown ’em….

  19. Doctors are like lawyers — if you look hard enough, you’ll find one who will give you the opinion you want…no matter if they are qualified or not.

  20. Funny, I heard how Adrian Peterson would never hold up in the NFL as well. And well he has problems, injuries really haven’t been one of them…

  21. Yep, that’s why we didn’t pick him. Not new news if you’re paying attention. All everyone wants to do is watch one highlight clip of the guy torching Michigan over and over again. Why that clip? Because there aren’t any more, that’s why! Notre Dame hasn’t been significant in 23 years. Hasn’t been a perennial powerhouse since the 40’s. Nobody cares about the Golden Dome Heads.

  22. @shaggynoodle, nobody is saying that Jennings sucks but comparing him to Harvin, really? Harvin had over 2000 combined yards as a rookie, 2nd in the NFC, and was ROY, then he made Pro Bowl last year. Jennings is a nice little player but come on.

  23. I don’t get why you keep throwing him making the pro bowl around.

    If Ponder goes to the pro bowl, because SB Qbs don’t go and 4 other QBs don’t want to go.
    Ponder is thier 6th choice.

    Are you going to talk him up like you do with Harvin.

    My point is Harvin could be a MUCH better player if he would practice he has all these head ache episodes and I think it will continue not allow him to maximize his potential.

  24. this reminds me of when they picked adrian peterson. they were worred about his collar bone hindering his capability. so he slid to the vikings. turned out alright if you ask me. rudolph is still young. younger bodies heal better. just another very big risky pick.

  25. Most WRs that go to the pro-bowl for you know actually being WR and not return specialist. Usually have over 1000 yards. He hasn’t broke 900 yet.

  26. there are always know-it-alls who put down drafted individuals…. they were there with AP…. Harvin….. even our trade for Jared Allen…. Know it alls who put them down and say what a mistake….

    I’m happy with our selections.

  27. Shaggy, Viking fans are really happy with Harvin. When you make a pick late in the 1st round and he turns out to be, you know, the rookie of the year, that’s a good thing.

  28. Shaggy, couple of things….

    1) Do you want to make a little side bet on whether Rudolph misses more games than Finley in the next couple years? Since, you know, they have to be on the field to be effective…..

    2) Just to put Harvin in perspective for you….

    Harvin after 2 seasons: 131, 1658, 11
    Jackson after 2 seasons: 124, 2068, 11
    Jennings after 2 seasons: 98, 1552, 15
    Smith (Car) after 3 seasons: 152, 2136, 10
    R White after 3 seasons: 142, 2154, 9

    Let’s talk a couple years down the line, k?

    2a) If Harvin is just solid, then what is James Jones?

    Jones after 4 seasons: 149, 2069, 13

    3) Let’s go with your whole “6th choice for QB thing”….. Assume, as you do, that Ponder is the 6th choice. Further assume that Rodgers, Brees, Ryan, Romo, and Manning are the first 5. That means that Ponder would be chosen ahead of Stafford, Bradford, Cutler, Freeman…… Unless the number of PB withdrawals gets into double figures, being an alternate is still worth noting.

    In the case of Harvin, if you can get a player who is, as you term, solid as a WR AND deserving of recognition as a PB KR, then he’s a valuable asset to the team.

    4) Think about how Packer fans talk about how awesome Finley will be if he can actually stay healthy and put together a full season. Now think about what you said:

    “My point is Harvin could be a MUCH better player if he would practice he has all these head ache episodes and I think it will continue not allow him to maximize his potential.”

    Just saying…..

  29. 1)Its very possible that Rudolph will recover, but drafting people with bad hammys doesn’t usually do teams much in the long term.

    2) Jennings was a solid player too I had the same feelings about him he was able to practice and show improvement and look how good he is now.

    2a)Harvin is solid, that would make Jones a superbowl champion. Jones is a good compared to other number 4 WRs in the league. He may start for a team that needs a WR.

    3) Being the 6th best QB means your not even in the top third of conference, not all that impressive. The players don’t care about the pro bowl why should anyone else. Should I start talking about how great Chad Clifton is for making the pro bowl this season?

    The Vikings have been taking gambles for the last few seasons hoping Favre would come save the day, and it almost worked and then Moss, they wasted that pick. So then to make up for it, they made which has been noticed as one of the biggest reaches in the draft. This sounds like another gamble.

    Do you not care that you could have had what was argued to be the best DT in the draft, to help take some pressure of the Williams wall and get some much needed youth on that DL?

  30. the pro bowl is still an honor even if you are a runner up. just because you weren’t the top selected doesn’t mean you fall into the center of the bell curve and especially doesn’t mean you fall below the center of the bell curve. It is still an honor. and Harvin’s selection still puts him at the upper end of the bell curve. our fans are excited about Harvin, as well as most of the other players on.

    We bring this up because there are many who post such doom on rookies who haven’t even taken the field yet. Comments most often are proven wrong.

    We are fans who are excited. plain and simple. if a guy doesn’t work out, well, he won’t be around. But when they do we get even more excited. and wet blankets still come out year in and year out. these people shouldn’t be fans or they are just haters.

  31. @kyle90

    Harvin made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. He didn’t make it last year. He’s a good player when he plays but these migraines are going to ruin his career if they keep forcing him to miss games and practices.

    I wonder if the number of practices he misses is related to who his head coach is.

  32. shaggytoodle says:
    May 15, 2011 11:39 PM

    Do you not care that you could have had what was argued to be the best DT in the draft, to help take some pressure of the Williams wall and get some much needed youth on that DL?

    Honestly, I would have taken Solder if I were the one picking. Fairley has a high ceiling, but also a high bust potential. One-year standouts are red-flagged for good reason, as well as players with the perception of bad work habits and immaturity.

  33. I would have questioned the Vikings less if they would have taken a player like Solder. I am also aware that of the red flags you speak of. Just picking Ponder so high while there were going to be better prospects to choose from. While QB was an obvious need, I think trying something like Miami did with OT and 2nd QB would have been better for Minny.

    I think fans would be more upset if Ponder fails, he has to feel like he hit the lottery. Instead of taking another player 1st and like a guy like Mallet even if he fails ( I am not too high on him myself) with less invested to him easier to break ties.

  34. In this we agree…. I wasn’t happy about all this. My thinking was, if the guy they wanted didn’t fall to the second, let Webb and Bomar fight it out for the job. If by some miracle one of them ended up playing well enough to look like the future, all well and good. More likely, they have a shot at Luck/Barkley/Jones next year. Now, with this pick, there is little chance of getting one of those three, or anyone else for the next couple years.

    Barring a good trade-down, which would have been my preference, I would have gone Solder (or whichever LT prospect they felt best) and a potential outside WR like Torrey Smith or Greg Little in the second.

    Something has occurred to me though…. Steve Smith is on the way out of Carolina. I’m thinking about Harvin and Smith on the field together with a QB who is built for those quick-hit routes, and a pair of TEs who are good recievers….. While I don’t like giving up draft picks for players at the end of their careers, the potential of this one would make me pull the trigger if the price wasn’t too high.

  35. this question keeps coming up…. and it has been answered over and over…… Of course the vikings would like to have picked Ponder later in the draft…. this has been iterated by me over and over, Frasier has eluded to this…. Spielman has said it, other analysts have said it…. if you didn’t get this … i don’t know what to say…… Read more.

    Ponder was their choice. the QBs were coming off the board. Ponder would not have been there in Rnd 2. Washington had already moved back once and was sitting at 16. They were high on Ponder too. Seattle at 25 (If i remember right >>25) was high on Ponder as well…. the Redskins had a window before 25…. sixteen to 25…. most people who claim to understand the draft or question “A PICK” don’t seem to be able to get passed “The PICK”…. Redskins were mostlikely going to try to pick him up at 16 or attempt first to move into the early 20s….

    The vikings on the other hand were not going to see…. Their QB…. the phones were dead. they used up nearly the entire clock waiting for a trade partner. with the skins at 16 already and seattle at 25, they pulled the trigger at 12….. Ponder was their guy…. was it earlier than they wanted… yes… would Ponder have been there in round 2… no.

    I hope this finally puts this to rest.

  36. I understand that they wanted to get thier QB.

    I think alot of people will argue that there were probably a solid dozen players with higher grades than Ponder.

    I understand they couldn’t trade down, and I also understand that without thier 3rd they gave for Moss it made moving back up hard.

    They got handcuffed into this situation due to poor choices made in the last few seasons.

    Atleast Ponder is willing to show up to work out with the team before pre-season.

  37. I have to admit i was surprised as well about Ponder being selected. I knew as i watched the clock that they were hoping to trade down… I thought a trade was taking place. but as the time ticked closer to zero I was beginning to wonder.

    I was happy that newton and locker were already taken. I was terrified that we would select locker. I did not desire his completion percentage. But as far as the other QB’s left on the board….. Mallet was high on my list until his latest immature episode took place with a team in the south just before the draft…. the night before he was to meet with a team he stayed out drinking and couldn’t get up the next day and had to cancel the meeting. At that point, he dropped down on my list and others as well. other QBs left needed work and i doubt they would be NFL ready… one that intrigued me, was kaepernick… I really liked his arm. but even he would not be ready for the nfl and will do fine behind another QB.

    Ponder though…. he is the most NFL ready QB. he doesnt have elite arm strength but other QBs have done well with that issue. Ponder does have one thing going for him well others things as well…. Ponder is very intelligent… He’s also Football intelligent. Even on the college level the coach changed the offensive scheme on a weekly basis…. the coach said that because of Ponder’s understanding of football he was able to change the offensive scheme each week…. Ponder needed only three days or less to grasp the new scheme.

    His injury was not a throwing injury, and the doctors at combine looked at him…. other team doctors looked at him…. the vikings doctors looked at him…. I’m not worried about that. I think Ponder has great upside and will have a great chance to win the starting role ….. if the lock out ends soon. if not Joe Webb…. I like Joe Webb as well. I dont think ponder selected as the 4th QB taken is not that far fetched. and you know why he was selected at 12 from above.

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