Vikings rookie report: Week 16

Posted Dec. 27, 2011 @ 10:31 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The win over the Redskins featured some standout rookie moments, including TE Kyle Rudolph's third-quarter touchdown reception and S Mistral Raymond's fourth-quarter interception.

Rudolph beat Redskins ILB Perry Riley on a corner route, showing the kind of red-zone potential the tight end possesses. But right now, he's not a big part of the offense; the team just can't get him the ball consistently. That will be a repeated theme of the offseason for sure.

Raymond had a big fourth quarter, intercepting an easy pass (the first Vikings pick in 10 games) from Rex Grossman and taking it back 31 yards to give the Vikings great field position. The turnover led to a field goal, which made it a two-possession game late in the fourth quarter, and considering that the pick came right after a 59-yard Redskins TD was nullified, it also went down as a huge momentum changer. On the final play of the game, Raymond made the smart move and batted down the pass instead of going for the pick. That will earn him praise from the coaches.

Both rookies need some physical improvements in the offseason. Rudolph might be plagued by a hamstring that gave him trouble at Notre Dame, and he should spend the offseason getting that cleared up. His quickness and suddenness also need to improve. Raymond could use some buiking up in the offseason. He left Saturday's game with a shoulder injury and can't hold up for a full season of starting if he is susceptible to these kinds of injuries.