Returning from his third major surgery in his last five seasons of football, Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph has an important season upcoming for a player starting a five-year deal worth up to $40 million if he earns the incentives, including game day active roster and workout bonuses.
Rudolph hasn't played a full season since 2012, with just as many catches (54) in the past two years as that Pro Bowl-alternate season (53). Availability, not ability, is the chief concern with the Vikings' second-round pick from 2010, who has suffered a broken foot and needed surgery to repair a sports hernia in back-to-back seasons.
Rudolph showed a glimpse of what he might do under Norv Turner in last year's preseason, catching seven passes for a 21.3-yard average, including a 51-yard touchdown. He slimmed down in 2014 to adapt to Turner's vertical offense and is still listed 10 pounds lighter than he was in 2013. Rudolph turned his focus to flexibility in workout regimens this offseason, opting for hot yoga and beach exercises. The Vikings hope that will make a difference for a talented player marred by injuries and for an offense that wants to use Rudolph as a big weapon in the passing game.
The story went on to say the Vikings targeted tight ends on 85 passes last season. Nearly half the league (13) had a single player targeted more at the position. But, Rudolph's injury limited the Vikings down the middle of the field and the turnaround at tight end will help frame the Vikings' bid to build a passing game after ranking near the bottom of the league in passing yards, yards per attempt and touchdowns last season. We all know Rudolph is a reliable target, and the story said he's caught seven balls for every 10 passes thrown his way through four seasons. But, he just can't seem to stay on the field - as fantasy owners well know. Rudolph comes in 16th on our list. We don't always recommend drafting two TEs, but Rudolph in the late rounds as a flier may prove to pan out especially in deeper leagues.