In Week 4, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph was targeted four times, catching two passes for seven yards in the 23-20 loss at Denver. That brought his four-game totals to 14 catches, which ranks 67th in the league, for 104 yards, which ranks outside the top 100.
“The [pass rush] we just played is probably one of the best in football and when we do stuff like that, I’m required to be in more helping our offensive line with protection,” Rudolph said. “There will be plenty of opportunities for me down the road to catch footballs. As a tight end, there can be so many different responsibilities outside of just catching the ball, even though it seems like everybody on the outside only bases our success on receptions.”
Look for Rudolph to catch more passes eventually. But right now, with Peterson returning, Mike Wallace emerging and the offensive line still adjusting to two lost starters, it’s going to take a little time for offensive coordinator Norv Turner to work through some kinks.
Rudolph was very active as a receiver in the first two weeks, catching 10 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. But over the past two weeks he has not been as involved. Owners should keep this in mind -- if the Vikings are facing a strong pass rush, Rudolph's targets may be limited.
Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson was inactive on Sunday in Denver and missed his fourth straight practice on Tuesday because of the rib injury he sustained against the San Diego Chargers. Johnson, however, was hopeful he'd be back on the field when the Vikings return from their bye week.
Asked if anything was broken, Johnson said, "I don't know what it is, actually. [The trainers] were like, 'Something's wrong with your ribs.' When I tried to [run] too fast, I could feel it, so they were like, 'Just rehab it.' Hopefully, they'll get me right, and I'll be back out there."
He was initially injured on the interception Teddy Bridgewater threw to Steve Williams in the first quarter of the Vikings' Sept. 27 win over the Chargers. Johnson tried to work back toward the jump ball that Bridgewater threw near the goal line, and said he didn't feel anything in his ribs until several plays later.
Veteran tight end Antonio Gates returns to Chargers Park this week to begin preparation for his first regular-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. Gates was suspended the first four weeks of the season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Ladarius Green filled in admirably with Gates gone. Green is fourth on the team in receptions with 14 for 174 yards and two scores. But Green missed a Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a concussion, and does not command the type of attention from an opposing defense that Gates demands.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers also gets his security blanket back in Gates. The two have combined for the most touchdowns by a quarterback and a tight end duo in NFL history with 72. His 99 touchdowns since joining the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Kent State in 2003 are the most in the NFL by any player over the last 12 seasons.
And Gates' 36 touchdown catches on third-down plays rank fourth in league history among all players, and most among tight ends.
"We'll be excited to have him back in there," Rivers said. "He helps us on the field and in the locker room. We've certainly missed him. So it will be a plus. We're acquiring a Hall of Fame free agent here in about 24 hours."
It's great timing for the Chargers who have potentially lost WRs Malcom Floyd (concussion) and Stevie Johnson (hamstring) for Week 5. Gates should have a role right away upon his return as a result, but it remains to be seen how quickly he'll be back to game-form. With a lack for WRs, the Bolts may show more two, TE looks this week. It appears more and more Green's targets could take a hit, perhaps especially in the red zone where Gates is expected to be a big weapon.
Sunday, October 4, 2015, 3:11pm
Friday, October 2, 2015, 6:45pm
Vikings WR Charles Johnson (rib, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 4. Mike Wallace gets a slight boost due to the likelihood of a few extra targets, but it’s a bad matchup against a good Denver secondary.
Friday, October 2, 2015, 6:45pm
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:11pm
Vikings WR Charles Johnson (rib) missed practice again Thursday. Johnson played through the injury last week but he’s not a good fantasy option given his production and the dismal state of the Minnesota passing game.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6:25pm
Vikings WR Charles Johnson (rib) did not practice Wednesday. Johnson played through the injury last week but he’s not a good fantasy option given his production and the dismal state of the Minnesota passing game.
Monday, September 28, 2015, 4:49pm
The Panthers have been running short on defensive ends since Greg Hardy went on the commissioner’s exempt list a game into last season.
And when Charles Johnson got hurt, they clearly felt the need to make a big move.
Give Gordon the football.
“The running game was not good enough for anybody,” McCoy said after Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. “When you get beat like that, it is not good enough and we will evaluate the film. When looking at a running back you do not want to just look at the numbers.”
Well, coach, when looking at the numbers through three games, Gordon is No. 10 in the NFL in rushing, running for 190 yards on 44 carries for a respectable 4.32 yards per carry. He has yet to get into the end zone.
Gordon’s three rushes of at least 20 yards ties him for second in the NFL.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Gordon has 104 yard after contact, which is No. 6 in the NFL.
That’s pretty impressive considering the University of Wisconsin product seems to get hit more times than not before he reaches the line of scrimmage.
He’s carried the ball an average of 15 times a game. Gordon averaged 25 carries a game in college. But the 15 rushes is about what Ryan Mathews received at times before they started giving him upwards of 20 and he got hurt. But the key stat is Gordon has one carry on third down and none in the red zone, so the Chargers remain unwilling to use him in crucial moments in the game, seemingly trusting Danny Woodhead more in that role.
Johnson ended up not coming back to the game. A report said he returned to the field for one series, but he reportedly had his helmet taken away from him after that, according to the Vikings Radio Network.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7:02pm
Broncos RB C.J. Anderson (ankle, toe, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 3. We’re expecting Anderson to have a bounce back game against the Lions, who just gave up 134 yards to Adrian Peterson.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Broncos RB C.J. Anderson (ankle, toe) took full practice reps again Thursday. Anderson finished the Thursday night game against the Chiefs and had a few extra days to heal. He should be fine to face the Lions. Anderson said that he’s “fine now.” We’re expecting Anderson to have a bounce back game against the Lions, who just gave up 134 yards to Adrian Peterson.
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