When Kyle Rudolph’s time in purple is over, he could very well be remembered as the best tight end in Vikings history. He’s within shouting distance of Steve Jordan’s team records, has made big plays in big moments, and his impact on the field has been a difference for the Vikings offense ever since he was drafted by them in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft.
But his impact off the field will be remembered long after his playing days are over, and will resonate with Minnesotans for generations.
It’s easy to see why he was nominated by the Vikings for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award:
The #Vikings are pleased to announce @KyleRudolph82 as this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.#Skol pic.twitter.com/PXznPOsROJ— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 12, 2019
To say Rudolph gives back to the community is an understatement. He’s a regular visitor to the University of Minnesota Children’s hospital, where he has spent countless hours with sick kids battling all kinds of disease. He doesn’t do it for show, either. He goes without cameras, and if there are cameras around, he stays long after they leave.
He was the driving force behind the construction of Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a place where children might be able to forget about the enormous challenges facing them and their families, if only for a little while.
Rudolph was nominated by the Vikings last year, and I thought he deserved it then. Let’s do what little part we can to make sure Rudolph is recognized for his efforts off the field as much as he is celebrated on the field.