Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph is in many ways a perfect target for a young quarterback who could use a security blanket in the early stages of his development. Quarterback Christian Ponder will look often for play-making wide receiver Percy Harvin this season, I'm sure, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Rudolph finishes the season as his most frequent target.
Why not? Rudolph is 6-foot-6 with 34-inch arms and bigger hands (10 3/4-inch) than new Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil (10 3/8th). I know we've had fun with discussion of long arms and hand size relative to left tackles, but for a tight end it means Rudolph has extraordinary range to reach and catch the ball. He's a balltrap that last season dropped only one of the 37 passes thrown his way, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He caught 26 of them, including three touchdowns.
"He's a guy that has a chance to be special," coach Leslie Frazier said when we spoke Thursday morning. "He works very hard and is very talented, there's no question about that. But the way he can catch the football is second-to-none. … His catching radius is amazing. If Christian gets it close to him, he knows that Kyle is going to come up with the football. That gives him a lot of confidence."
Rudolph has been working his way up our rankings, and is currently our 17th-ranked tight end.