There was some doubt about whether tight end Kyle Rudolph would return to the Vikings this season, but he ultimately signed a four-year contract extension that keeps him in Minnesota for the near future.
With Rudolph’s return secured, the next order of business was for the tight end to build a stronger bon with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins said recently that “I don’t think I did enough” to develop that bond during his first year with the Vikings, but that he was getting more comfortable throwing to Rudolph even when the tight end was covered.
Rudolph feels that the chemistry between the two players is growing as well.
“Kirk’s never played with a tight end of the body type that I have,” Rudolph said during an appearance on NFL Network. “Kirk played with smaller guys that are quicker than I am, run routes differently. We didn’t really have an offseason together last year, I was coming off ankle surgery, spent most of the spring rehabbing. Now we’ve had a full season together, a full offseason. And it’s just being on the same page. He knows that I can make catches that some of the other guys that he played with in the past couldn’t. And also I have more vertical separation than he’s used to having.”
That separation and ability to make catches while covered should be useful traits for the Vikings to make use of in the red zone. Finding success there would help push them back toward playoff contention, which would be a welcome development after a disappointing 2018 season.