Rudolph turned in one his better seasons in 2017. He finished with 57 receptions for 532 yards and eight touchdowns. It was the second-best performance of his career in all three statistical categories. His career highs in receptions (83) and yards (840) were posted in 2016, and he produced nine touchdowns in 2012. In 2017, Rudolph was third on the Vikings in receptions and receiving yards. He tied with Stefon Diggs for the team lead in receiving TDs. Rudolph has played all 16 games for three consecutive seasons. At 6-6, he is the prototypical NFL red zone target. Drafted by the Vikings in the second round, the Notre Dame alum made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and 2016.
Rudolph’s best season (2016) came as a result of his on-field rapport with QB Sam Bradford. He was beginning to develop a similar connection with Case Keenum. In 2018, he’ll have to start all over again with Kirk Cousins. There is also a new offensive coordinator (John DeFilippo) in Minnesota.
Since Rudolph entered the NFL in ’11, the list of Vikings quarterbacks includes Keenum, Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, and Christian Ponder. One would think that Kirk Cousins would be a fairly significant improvement from that cast of characters. For Minnesota’s sake, he better be. Although Rudolph will be playing with a new QB and for a new OC, both Cousins and DeFilippo have demonstrated the desire and the ability to utilize talented tight ends. Rudolph is a solid fantasy option with reasonable upside.