Don't Expect Kyle Rudolph to Be Jordan Cameron This Year



Hello Vikings fans! I'm back this time trying to dig into Kyle Rudolph's fortunes this time. Specifically, what can Vikings fans expect from him in the coming season? We've all probably heard something along the lines of 'Rudolph is going to explode under Norv this year'. And looking back through the years, Norv has really gotten his TEs to produce. Just last year he took a guy with 26 combined receptions in two years and made him into an 80 catch guy. Does Rudolph have a shot to put up some guady stats like that? Lets dig into the numbers (everyones favorite thing to do I'm sure) and see what we can come up with.

Rudolph the Athlete

First things first when we try and draw up a set of comparables is to try and look at who his comparable athletes are. Its not that a guy can be successful while being an uninspiring athlete (relatively speaking of course) its just that by looking at guys who compare to him it can give us an idea of what to reasonably expect from him. Of course a set of comparables is just shows us possible outcomes. Basically, what I'm looking for here is the following: are there players who are athletically similar to Rudolph been successful NFL TEs?

To generate a list of comparables, I tried to find players who were within 10 lbs or so of Rudolph who had similar agility scores. For reference, agility scores are simply the combination of a players short shuttle and there 3 cone drill. Lower is obviously better. Here are the results:

Kyle Rudolph

  • Weight: 259lbs
  • 40 time: 4.83 seconds
  • Agility score: 11.61
  • Draft Round: 2nd

Vance McDonald

  • Weight: 248lbs
  • 40 time: 4.69 seconds
  • Agility score: 11.61seconds
  • Draft Round: 2nd

Jermaine Gresham

  • Weight: 261lbs
  • 40 Time: 4.66 seconds
  • Agility Score: 11.60 seconds
  • Draft Round: 1st

Greg Olsen

  • Weight: 254lbs
  • 40 Time: 4.51 seconds
  • Agility Score: 11.52 seconds
  • Draft Round: 1st

Jason Pociask

  • Weight: 266
  • 40 Time: 4.84 seconds
  • Agility Score: 11.63 seconds
  • Draft Round: 5th

So those are some of Rudolphs comparables. Are they cherry picked? Absolutely! The point isn't to get exact comparables, merely to show both possible ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, he could end up like Olsen, perenailly underrated and a top 10 at his position. On the other, a guy who never saw much sucess at all. His timed agility is about average for a guy his size, so nothing wrong there. The only red flag I see is a pretty poor showing in the 40 yard dash. Obviously, its not going to prevent him from having success, but you'd like to see him run faster than that.

Three years in, we can probably discount the Pociask comparisons, for at least one good reason: the Vikings seem to be committed to Rudolph getting his opportunites. That alone will likely enable him to have some success. But that hasn't answered our question: how much success is Rudolph likely to have under Norv? I mean under Norv we've seen Cameron come out of nowhere, Gates continue to be a monster (until age finally caught up with him) even Jay Novacek made some pro bowls back in the day. So is that what we can expect from Rudolph? Perhaps.

On the one hand, he's likely to see an uptick not only in touches, but in quality touches as well. It is a tiny sample size to be sure, but his AYA with Ponder was only 6.19 while with Cassel it was 9.46. So whether its Cassel starting or Bridgewater, Rudolph should see a definite increase in the quality of passes thrown his way. However, its not all roses: it must be pointed out that Gates and Cameron are pretty well superior to Rudolph athletically. So while Rudolph will definitely see an uptick in not only volume, but likely quality, I don't think were going to be seeing an explosion type season out of Rudolph.

Jordan Cameron, athletically speaking, is a much more dynamic threat down the field. I mean, his timed agility is better than Gio Bernards. It explains why he's such a receiving threat. Can you imagine the type of season Cameron could have had last year had he not been stuck with that sorry bunch of QBs in Cleveland? The same arguement can be put forth for Rudolph, sure, but outside of a few games by Hoyer, you can't really say one situation was better than the other. So while Rudolph doesn't quite have the high end upside (in my opinion) as Jordan Cameron, he should still have a decent amount of receiving yards and be his usual monster threat around the end zone. I'm going to predict something along the lines of 60 catches, 750 receiving yards and 10 TDs. What do you guys think? Reasonable, Higher or Lower?

Edit: In my haste to get this published, I almost forgot to point out something interesting: if we are looking for a really high upside TE a year or two down the road, look no further than AC Leonard. He's got a bit better agility score than Rudolph, is a ton faster, and was an absolute BEAST in college. His dominator rating was decent-for a WR. Its one of the better DRs for a TE in the past few years.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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