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Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph: What to expect

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When will Rudolph breakout again?

NFC Championship - Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It was 2016 when Kyle Rudolph set single-game records for receptions and receiving yards.

He was third on the team for receiving with 83 catches for 840 yards. He was only behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

Will we ever see that Rudolph again?

Rudolph was plagued early in his career with injuries that caused him to miss almost half the season a couple of times during his time in the league. However, the passed three seasons he has participated in every regular-season game with the Vikings.

Although in week 14 he sustained a right ankle injury, he still continued to have limited participation in the last three games of the season. That injury resulted in him having off-season ankle surgery in February.

The surgery went well and he was back to full participation in June.

I think in order for Rudolph to be a top-notch tight end than he will need to get fed the ball more.

It’s safe to say Rudolph is one of the more lethal receivers in the league when in the red zone. Last season he had one of the best catch percentages when inside the 20. He was targeted 25 times and caught 22 of them, adding ten touchdowns. He was no doubt a top-five tight end last season.

There is a strong feeling in my gut that Kirk Cousins and Rudolph will create some great chemistry in the red zone. But, I also feel like he will be targeted more than he normally is when the offense isn’t inside the 20.

Cousins targeted tight end Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed for a combined 70 receptions for over 850 yards. I know John DeFilippo wasn’t the offensive coordinator while in Philadelphia, but let’s just say he’s probably going to bring over some ideas that worked well with the Eagles offense last season.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz only played in 14 games last season and still managed to lead the team with 824 receiving yards off of 74 receptions. Now this is all speculation, of course, but I believe Rudolph will have a similar year to what he did in 2016 just because of the new offensive coordinator and quarterback.

Not to mention this will be the fourth year of his five-year contract. Rudolph is 28 and has been in the league going on eight seasons. He no doubt has a few years left, unless his old injuries begin to weigh on his physical health. If he wants to stick around or even play for another team, then his last two years on his contract will be crucial.