It was a wild day for Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. He not only had himself a career-high 137 receiving yards, but also reeled in two touchdowns to help the Vikings secure a 27-9 win over the Detroit Lions.
Minnesota could have went into halftime down 9-7 if it wasn’t for a tremendous throw by Kirk Cousins in a full-out Hail Marry to find Rudolph jumping well over his defenders to grab the ball in the end zone to help lift Minnesota 14-9 at the half.
But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) December 23, 2018
(Kyle) Rudolph the @NDFootball alum wasn’t playing any reindeer games and pulled in the Hail Mary for the @Vikings TD! #GoIrish
Rudolph joins some impressive company after Sunday’s performance. That was his third game with over 100+ receiving yards in his career. The only other tight end to achieve that was Joe Senser with four. He had three games that were over 100 receiving yards in 1981 and one during the ‘82 season.
The last time Rudolph had himself a 100+ yard game was when Minnesota played Chicago two years ago on New Years Day. He had 11 catches for 117 yards and one touchdown in a 38-10 win.
Rudolphs’ 122-yard game is the most receiving yards by a Minnesota tight end since Visanthe Shiancoe’s 136-yard performance against the Atlanta Falcons almost ten years to the day on Dec. 21 2008.
The two touchdowns that Rudolph caught tied his career-high for most touchdowns in a game. The last time he’s done that was when Minnesota faced the Lions (funny) on Nov. 23 2017.
Rudolph hasn't seen many targets over the past few weeks. His trend was definitely on the downslope in terms of production in the passing game, and with only a couple years left on his contract, he needs to start proving that he wants to stick around.
A factor contributing to Rudolph’s performance could have been the healthy scratch of Laquon Treadwell. A decision that was made shortly before the start of the game. Chad Bebe was Treadwell’s replacement, but didn’t record a catch (not sure if he had many, if any offensive snaps).
All of this Walter Payton Man of the Year talk must be getting him all hyped up or something. I liked the way he played, and hope to see that performance continue against Chicago next week and potentially into the playoffs.
Even if Rudolph didn’t catch that 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown then he’d still have a season-high 78-yards.