Fantasy Football: Gobble Up Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph

Mike NelsonCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2012

Minnesota Vikings tight end has recorded 12 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks of 2012.
Minnesota Vikings tight end has recorded 12 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks of 2012.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings offense isn’t full of fantasy football juggernauts, but that doesn’t mean Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart are the only Vikings worth owning.

If you weren’t lucky enough to scoop up a Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham at your draft, might I introduce you to Kyle Rudolph.

Rudolph is Minnesota’s No. 1 tight end and is becoming Christian Ponder’s No. 2 target behind Percy Harvin.

But with Harvin, who’s 5’11" and 184 pounds, as a small No. 1 receiver that creates a large opening for someone to become the No. 1 redzone option.

Cue the lights. Let’s bring out Mr. Rudolph.

Rudolph stands a monstrous 6’6” and 259 pounds. He has 10 3/4-inch hands and posted a 34 1/2-inch vertical at Notre Dame’s pro day in 2011. The man is a physical specimen.

His rookie campaign didn’t inspire many (26 receptions for 249 yards and three touchdowns). But 2012 is shaping up to be much different.

Through the first two games he has posted eight receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 12 times over that stretch and has a special bond with Ponder. Ponder and he were Minnesota’s first and second round picks, respectively, in 2011.

Now while the Vikings are a run-first team they are trying to expand their passing game. And it’s something the offense will continue to do as this season advances.



The Peterson-Gerhart running back duo is among the game’s best, but Minnesota invested its 2011 first round pick in Ponder. It wants him to become a top quarterback, which means more and more passing opportunities will come as he gets more comfortable.

The first two games he’s thrown 62 passes (31 passes per game average) and led Minnesota to a game-tying field goal to end regulation and the game-winning field goal in overtime against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also led Minnesota to two touchdowns in its final two possessions against the Colts to tie the game with less than a minute left.

He’s thrown no interceptions and two touchdown passes on the season. He’s clearly progressing and should continue to progress as 2012 continues.

A progressing Ponder benefits Rudolph. Currently, the former Notre Dame player is owned in a lowly 11.2 percent of standard ESPN leagues while CBS players own him in 61 percent of leagues.

The CBS leagues are ahead of the curve, but things are moving that way. Jump on Rudolph while you can. He may not be available for long and will be a top-12 tight end in fantasy by year's end.