It was a pretty big day all around for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, as they trounced the Chicago Bears in the regular season finale by a score of 38-10. There might not have been anybody in purple that had a bigger day than tight end Kyle Rudolph, who set a couple of records for Vikings’ tight ends in this contest.
To start with, he set personal career highs for catches and yardage in a game against the Bears. Rudolph hauled in an impressive 11 catches for 117 yards and a score.
Those 11 catches gave him 83 for the season, which is a new single-season Vikings’ record for catches by a tight end. The record was previously 79, which was set by Joe Senser back in 1981.
The 117 yards gave him a total of 840 in a season, which is the third-highest total in team history behind Senser’s 1981 season (1,004 yards) and Steve Jordan’s 1986 season (859 yards).
The touchdown catch gave him seven touchdown receptions on the season, which is tied for the fourth-highest total in a season by a Vikings’ tight end. It’s only the second-highest season total of Rudolph’s career, as he had nine scoring catches in 2012. Visanthe Shiancoe holds the record for touchdown catches in a season by a Minnesota tight end with 11 in 2009.
EDIT: Because I forgot it the first time, Rudolph’s touchdown catch did give him the all-time franchise record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 29 overall. The record had been 28 by Steve Jordan.
(All stats provided by Pro Football Reference. They haven’t put Sunday’s numbers into their database yet, but they’ll be there soon enough.)
Add it all up, and you have one of the best seasons ever for a Minnesota Vikings’ tight end. With the move to a shorter passing game, Rudolph became a focal point of the Vikings’ passing game, and he took full advantage of it this season. Hopefully this is the sort of year he can build on going forward.