The corner route Kyle Rudolph ran in the second quarter Saturday night, lining up between the hash marks at the Minnesota Vikings' 49 and roaming to his left just inside the numbers at the Arizona Cardinals' 30-yard line, is exactly the kind for which Rudolph lost 15 pounds this offseason. It's an effort to become the latest Norv Turner tight end to feast in the middle of a defense.
Rudolph spent his offseason watching film of tight ends in Turner's offenses, from the Cleveland Browns' Jordan Cameron all the way back to the Dallas Cowboys' Jay Novacek, and slimmed down in an effort to speed up. He knew what kind of a role could be waiting for him with Turner as the Vikings' offensive coordinator, and he wanted to put himself into position to seize it.
So far, Rudolph has done exactly that. He caught one pass for 22 yards in the Vikings' preseason opener and followed it up with four catches for 89 yards, including his 51-yard touchdown from Matt Cassel on the aforementioned corner route, in the Vikings' win Saturday night over the Arizona Cardinals. The tight end, who got a five-year contract extension earlier this month, seems set to earn his money the same way Turner's tight ends have done it for years, the story said. We've been hearing good things about Rudolph even before camp started and he's shaping up to be one of several TEs who should fall somewhere in rounds 7-9 that could prove to be a great value.