Fantasy Football: Can Kyle Rudolph Be a Fantasy Sleeper at Tight End?

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IAugust 6, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 4: Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings catches the ball over Quinton Carter #28 of the Denver Broncos for a touchdown in the second quarter on December 4, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Big things were expected from Minnesota Vikings’ tight end Kyle Rudolph last year. He is a dynamic athlete and he had a rookie quarterback to learn the ropes with. Being the first two picks of the Vikings’ 2011 draft linked them.

Unfortunately we had to deal with the lockout last year and I believe that cost Christian Ponder and Rudolph a chance to cement their rapport. Throw in the Donovan McNabb experiment-gone-bad and it further set back the rebuilding process for the purple.

All the more reason why the signing of John Carlson in the offseason was puzzling.  Sure, there are teams copying the Patriots’ scheme of utilizing two athletic tight ends. Time will tell if this move will slow Rudolph’s growth, but it seems that the two Notre Dame tight ends can co-exist.

The early indications out of Vikings’ camp is that Rudolph is ready to take things to the next level this year. An early injury to Carlson will give Rudolph a chance to make more of an impression with Ponder and the Vikings’ brass.

Rudolph showed signs last year, catching three touchdowns in his last six games. He never caught more than three passes or gained more than 44 yards, but given his skill set it would not be a surprise for Kyle to blow those numbers out of the water this year.

It won’t take much of a commitment to land Rudolph. He’s not in my top 15 fantasy tight end lists, and he clocks in as the 21st tight end selected based on Mock Draft Central‘s numbers. He’s worth a look as a TE2, with a chance to become a borderline TE1 if things go well.

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