Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater helped with Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph’s annual youth camp this week, and Bridgewater and Rudolph planned to get in a workout of their own after at least one of the sessions.
The duo showed improved chemistry late last season, and with high expectations surrounding the Vikings in 2016, they’re focused on being even better.
Per ESPN’s Ben Goessling, 26 of Rudolph’s 49 receptions last season came over the season’s final seven games. Those 26 completions totaled 313 yards and two touchdowns.
Though Goessling wrote that a piece of advice from Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to Bridgewater to “just trust Kyle more” may have sparked their strong finish, Bridgewater said their improved rapport was about more than just looking Rudolph’s way more often.
“Kyle is a big target,” Bridgewater said. “He’s like a quarterback out there; he sees things the same way I see it. When we’re installing, he doesn’t just want to know his job. He wants to know [the job of] all 10 other players on the field. He wants to know the quarterback’s progression, things like that. It’s pretty cool to have a guy like that on the field on my side of the ball.”
Earlier this summer, Rudolph said he considers himself one of the NFL’s best tight ends even though his numbers don’t match those put up by the league’s top pass catchers at the position. This week, he said the extra work is part of making sure he’s ready if more passes keep coming his way.
“Obviously, I’d love to run around and catch balls like I did the second half of the year,” Rudolph said. “But if we’re not winning football games and I’m catching a ton of balls, it doesn’t do us any good. That being said, I do everything I can to make sure when that is my role, I can do it to the best of my ability.
“That’s why Teddy and I spend so much time together outside of practice, because the receivers, that’s what they do. They run around and catch balls, and do it all the time. For us, we have so much other stuff that we have to do, I kind of take that responsibility upon myself to make sure that we put the extra time in, so when that comes up in the game, we can take advantage of it.”