Kyle Rudolph

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Kyle Rudolph
refer to caption
Rudolph at the 2012 Pro Bowl.
No. 82 Minnesota Vikings
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-11-09) November 9, 1989 (age 26)
Place of birth: Cincinnati, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Cincinnati (OH) Elder
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 43
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
High school
Career NFL statistics as of Week 5, 2016
Receptions: 203
Receiving yards: 2,017
Touchdowns: 25
Player stats at

Kyle Daniel Rudolph[1] (born November 9, 1989) is an American football tight end for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). Rudolph played college football for the University of Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Vikings in the second round, 43rd overall of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was selected for the Pro Bowl following the 2012 NFL season.

Early years[edit]

Rudolph attended Elder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a junior, he caught 30 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-city and All-conference honors. As a senior in 2008, he was named first-team All-American by USA Today after totaling 37 receptions for 673 yards (18.2 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns.[2] He was placed on the All-America first team and was the lone tight end among the 11 finalists for the high school Maxwell Award. He received first-team All-Southwest Ohio as a senior after being named second team as a junior and was named second-team All-state by the Associated Press. Following his senior season, Rudolph was invited to play in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl held in San Antonio, Texas.[3]

Also an accomplished basketball player, Rudolph played center for his high school team and was the conference player of the year three times and All-Southwest Ohio in 2007. He is currently the second-leading scorer in school history and became just the second Panther to surpass 1,000 career points. He set the school record for most career rebounds when he corralled his 568th rebound on Jan. 11, 2008. Against Moeller (No. 1 in Ohio, No. 9 in the nation) on Jan. 25, 2008, he scored 25 of Elder's 52 points as the Panthers almost upset the top-ranked team in Ohio, 58-52.


Rudolph was rated as the best tight end and 20th best overall recruit in the class of 2008 according to[4] He was named the second-best player and the top tight end in the Detroit Free Press' Best of the Midwest Top 20 list. He was considered the No. 1 tight end in the recruiting class and the 20th-best prospect in the nation by Tom Lemming. He was ranked 21st in the country and No. 2 in the state of Ohio by He was also considered the 23rd-best player by Sports Illustrated. He accepted a scholarship offer from Notre Dame over Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio State.

College career[edit]

Freshman season (2008)[edit]

As a freshman in 2008, Rudolph became the first tight end in Notre Dame history to start all 13 games as a freshman and the first freshman to ever start a season opener at tight end for Notre Dame.[5] He made his career debut in the season opener against San Diego State and brought in his first career reception for five yards during the victory. In week 3, he posted his first multi-reception game (two catches for 29 yards) of his career against Michigan State, with both catches traveling for 10-plus yards and resulting in first downs against the Spartans. The following week, he hauled in three passes for 32 yards, with a long of 19, while also recording the first touchdown catch of his career in the Irish' 38-21 win over Purdue. In week 5, he registered season-highs in receptions (5) and receiving yards (70) and added his second and final touchdown of the season versus Stanford. He hauled in two catches for 26 yards against Pittsburgh, setting a new school record for receptions by a freshmen tight end in a single season during the game. In week 11, he established a school record for single-season receiving yards by a freshman tight end during the game against Syracuse. In the 2008 Hawaii Bowl game, he caught four passes for a season-high 78 yards. His 29-yard reception against the Warriors also set a season-best long reception. Rudolph finished his first year with the Irish with 29 receptions for 340 yards (11.7 avg.) and two touchdowns.

Sophomore season (2009)[edit]

As a sophomore in 2009, Rudolph participated in only ten games with nine starts, missing three due to a shoulder injury and totaling 275:59 of playing time while making 57 special-teams appearances.[6] He was named semifinalist for the John Mackey Award (presented annually to college football's most outstanding tight end) and was the only sophomore to be named semifinalist. He hauled in four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Nevada. In week 3, he set a then career-high with 95 receiving yards against Michigan State including a season-long 52-yard reception. His performance against the Spartans earned him John Mackey Tight End of the Week honors. He nabbed touchdown catches in back-to-back weeks against Purdue and Washington, with the first coming against the Boilermackers when there were only 24 seconds remaining in the game on a fourth-and-goal situation that sealed Notre Dame's win; the second touchdown reception against Washington came with less than two minutes remaining in regulation and gave the Irish the lead. He was voted by his teammates to represent tight ends on the Irish Leadership Committee. Rudolph ended the season ranked third on the team with 33 receptions (17 resulting in first downs) for 364 yards and three touchdowns.

Junior season (2010)[edit]

Rudolph had his promising 2010 junior season derailed by a hamstring injury that ended his season after 6 games. On September 11, he set a Notre Dame record for most receiving yards in a game by a tight end against Michigan with 164 yards on 8 receptions, with more than half of the yardage coming after he hauled in the second-longest pass play in school history with a 95-yard touchdown. Rudolph finished his final season before going pro with 28 receptions for 328 yards and three touchdowns, ending his 3-season career at Notre Dame ranked among the all-time leading tight ends in school history. His 90 career receptions were the fourth-most by a tight end in school history and his 1,032 career receiving yards are also fourth-most. His pair of 8-catch games fell 1 reception short of the school record for a tight end of 9 receptions in a game and was only the fourth Irish tight end to break the 1,000-yard career yardage plateau.

On January 4, 2011, Rudolph decided to forgo his senior season and declared for the 2011 NFL Draft.[7]


Regular season statistics Receiving
Season Team GP GS Rec Rec Yards Avg Lng TDs
2008 Notre Dame 13 13 29 340 11.7 29 2
2009 Notre Dame 10 9 33 364 11.0 52 3
2010 Notre Dame 6 6 28 328 11.7 95 3
Totals 29 28 90 1032 11.5 95 8

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 6 in 259 lb 4.78 s 1.67 s 2.80 s 4.37 s 7.24 s 34.5 in 9 ft 5 in 19 reps
All values from Notre Dame's Pro Day[8]

Rudolph didn't participate in the 2011 NFL combine because of his torn hamstring, but posted a 4.78 40-yard dash time only three weeks after being medically cleared to participate at Notre Dame's Pro Day in South Bend, Indiana.

Rudolph was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 43rd overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was the first tight end selected in the draft and is the second-highest drafted tight end in Vikings history behind Hal Bedsole (chosen in the first round, 19th overall) in the 1964 NFL Draft.

2011 season[edit]

During his rookie season, Rudolph started 8 of 15 games, catching 26 passes for 249 yards with a 9.6 yard average per reception and three receiving touchdowns, all of them in the final 7 games of the season as he assumed larger role in Bill Musgrave's offense.[9] In week 4, he hauled in a season-long 41-yard pass at Kansas City. His first career touchdown came on a 1-yard pass from fellow rookie quarterback Christian Ponder against the Oakland Raiders on November 20.

2012 season[edit]

In 2012 Rudolph had, in many ways, a breakout year. He was targeted 93 times and tallied 53 receptions averaging 9.3 yards per reception. Rudolph finished the year with 493 receiving yards and a career-high nine touchdowns, the 2nd-most by a Vikings tight end in a season in team history. His 9 touchdown catches were also tied for 2nd-most by a tight end in the NFL in 2012.[10] In the season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 9, he had a then career-best 67 receiving yards on 5 receptions. On September 16, he hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass with only 31 seconds remaining in the game versus the Indianapolis Colts to tie the game 20-20 after being down 20-6 entering the 4th quarter of game that Colts won on a late field goal 23-20. In week 3, he had a career-best 2 touchdown catches in the Vikings' win at San Francisco, matching the Vikings single-game best by a tight end. In week 6, he caught a touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion pass against the Washington Redskins. Rudolph was selected for his first Pro Bowl in his career at the conclusion of the season as a replacement for Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez.[11] In the game, he caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Giants quarterback Eli Manning on the last play of the first half, and was named MVP of the game after a 5-reception, 122-yard effort.[12]

2013 season[edit]

Rudolph had his promising season cut short by injury after hauling in 30 catches for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns in the opening 8 games of the season. He was placed on injured reserve on December 9 after being inactive for 5 games following a foot injury suffered against the Dallas Cowboys, when he caught a 31-yard touchdown, his longest play of the season, and injured his foot on the play. He caught his first touchdown of the season on a 20-yarder from Christian Ponder in the Vikings' loss at Chicago in week 2. In week 6 against the Carolina Panthers, he had a season-best 9 catches for 97 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown.

2014 season[edit]

On July 27, Rudolph and the Vikings agreed to a five-year extension that could be worth up to $40 million.[13] He opened the season with a 7-yard touchdown reception from Matt Cassel in the Vikings' blowout win over the St. Louis Rams on September 7. On September 22, it was announced that Rudolph would undergo surgery for a sports hernia, requiring 7 weeks to recover. He posted a season-high 7 receptions and 69 receiving yards in a loss at Detroit December 14. His second touchdown of the season came against the Carolina Panthers on the opening drive on a 4-yard toss from Teddy Bridgewater. Overall, Rudolph appeared in 9 games, making 8 starts and finishing the season with 24 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns.

2015 season[edit]

In 2015, Rudolph started all 16 games for the second time in his career. He posted a career-high 495 yards receiving and had the second-best totals of his career in receptions with 49 and touchdowns with 5. Due to a weak Vikings' offensive line, Rudolph was asked to block often and helped clear the way for Adrian Peterson to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards on the ground. In Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, he catched 5 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Rudolph set a single-game career high with 106 yards receiving against the Green Bay Packers on November 22, including a career-long 47-yard touchdown. The following week, he caught a season-high 7 passes in the win at Atlanta. In the Wild Card Playoff loss against the Seattle Seahawks, he moved the chains with a 24-yard reception late in the fourth quarter that led to the infamous Blair Walsh' missed field goal.

2016 season[edit]

In the third preseason game at the U.S. Bank Stadium, Rudolph hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater late in the second quarter. It was Minnesota’s first touchdown in its new stadium.[14] In Week 2 of the regular season, Rudolph caught a touchdown pass in the end zone, (the first for Sam Bradford as a Viking) in the 17-14 win over the Green Bay Packers. In the Vikings' upset of the 2015 NFC champions Carolina Panthers in Week 3, Rudolph was one of the few bright spots for a Vikings' offense that struggled to move the ball in the first half, catching 7 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.[15] Against the New York Giants on October 3, Rudolph hauled in five receptions (four of them resulting in first downs) for 55 yards and a touchdown.[16]


Season Team Games Receiving
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Yds/G Lng TD 1st +20 +40
Regular season
2011 Minnesota Vikings 15 8 26 249 9.6 16.6 41 3 14 3 1
2012 Minnesota Vikings 16 16 53 493 9.3 30.8 29 9 34 5 0
2013 Minnesota Vikings 8 8 30 313 10.4 39.1 31 3 12 6 0
2014 Minnesota Vikings 9 8 24 231 9.6 25.7 23 2 13 2 0
2015 Minnesota Vikings 16 16 49 495 10.1 30.9 47 5 25 4 1
2016 Minnesota Vikings 4 4 19 221 11.6 55.2 21 3 16 1 0
Total 68 60 201 2,002 10.0 29.4 47 25 114 21 2
2012 Minnesota Vikings 1 1 3 42 14.0 42.0 23 0 3 1 0
2015 Minnesota Vikings 1 1 1 24 24.0 24.0 24 0 1 1 0
Total 2 2 4 66 16.5 33.0 24 0 4 2 0



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