EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings shocked a few fans and some experts by rebounding from a 3-win season to make the playoffs with a 10-6 record last year.
If the team hopes to see continued growth, they will need some of their young players to take that step to the next level and none appears more ready for the spotlight than tight end Kyle Rudolph.
"He looks great. He's doing everything right. He's catching balls, running great routes," said Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. "I think he's getting a better understanding of coverages and you can tell it's really clicking for him."
Rudolph finished last season with 53 catches for 493 yards and nine touchdowns. It was enough to earn him a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. It was a nice honor for a second-year tight end, but some with the Vikings are crediting his performance in that game for a change in Rudolph's demeanor.
"The Kyle Rudolph that I see now is so much more confident and more sure of himself than the Kyle that I saw a year ago," said Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
Granted it was an exhibition game, but Rudolph walked away with the MVP trophy after posting five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
"That Pro Bowl, it's flipped a switch. I mean, he knows he has a chance to be a premiere tight end in this league," Frazier said.
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