In watching Vikings practices this offseason and then listening to coaches and player speak, there’s a sense a healthy TE Kyle Rudolph is a big deal for the offense. In one of Bridgewater’s first press conferences of the offseason program, he was asked about the addition of Wallace. Bridgewater explained that addition was great, but he made a point to talk up how much a healthy Rudolph means to him and the rest of the offense. And this is what Turner, who has had several big-time TEs featured in his offenses, said about Rudolph:
“When he’s healthy and running like he’s been the last three weeks, it’s exciting to have him. We’ll get some coverage on the outside with the speed that we have, he can open it up a lot. He’ll get match-ups, if they’re going to play eight-man fronts, the tight end gets great match-ups through the passing game. It’s nice having him.”
It has been a frustrating two years for Rudolph and his owners, as he’s missed 15 of a possible 32 games in that span. But he saw 17 targets in three games last season before going down with a sports hernia. Over the past three seasons, Rudolph has averaged 5.2 targets per game, which is about what Owen Daniels averaged in 2014. There’s some upside in OC Norv Turner’s TE-friendly offense if he can stay healthy.