Vikings Fan Favorite Makes Strong Statement on Return to Minnesota

Kyle Rudolph

Getty Former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph made a strong statement about returning to Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is coming off his first season away from the Vikings after a decade of donning the purple and gold.

And while he enjoyed his time with the New York Giants, Rudolph is open to a return to Minnesota.

The former 2011 second-round pick appeared on KFAN’s #92Noon radio show with Paul Allen on June 21 and addressed the possibility of playing for the Vikings again with one final objective in mind.

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‘There’s Still 1 Thing Left to Do Here’

Splitting time between New Jersey and Minnesota last season, Rudolph and his family returned home to Minnesota after the 2021 NFL season.

Asked by Allen whether he’d like to stay in Minnesota full time by re-joining the Vikings, Rudolph didn’t hesitate.

Absolutely,” Rudolph said. “I said it when I left here, ‘that Minnesota’s always home.’ It’s kind of been brought to my attention more when we came back from New Jersey after last season. Whether it’s at the grocery store in Wayzata or at a Timberwolves game… [or] WWE Smackdown this Friday. ‘Come Home Kyle’ chants erupted in the middle of one of the matches.

“Being around town after being gone and the amount of people saying, ‘we wished you were still here…’ just the amount of love myself and my family have gotten from people around the state it’s really opened our eyes to how admired we are by Vikings fans and how much love they’ve showed us for the last decade of our lives here.”

Rudolph, the franchise record holder for most tight-end touchdowns (48), is roughly 1,800 receiving yards off from overtaking Steve Jordan for the most receiving yards by a tight end, but would much rather win a Super Bowl over his records, adding that this year’s Vikings team has a chance to make that a reality.

“Certainly for me, there’s still one thing left to do here and that’s win a championship in Minnesota. Obviously, I would love to have another opportunity to get a crack at it. I talked about being calculated in my next decision. I’ve never won a Super Bowl. I’d love to hoist a Lombardi at some point in my career. I do believe this Vikings team has a chance to do that, and certainly, I would be open to that.

After playing in a limited fashion in New York, Rudolph added that he passed on opportunities to sign elsewhere so far this offseason and is opting to forgo minicamps and OTAs to continue to train and keep his family rooted in Minnesota for the moment.

“This is home. I’m entrenched in the community, we’re around town and I just know what a championship would mean for this state and for that organization,” Rudolph said. “That was kind of the big regret when my time wrapped up with the Minnesota Vikings.”

Rudolph closed saying he’s waiting for the “perfect opportunity” wherever it may be and is physically “ready to go.”

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Vikings Could Use Help at TE

There’s growing anticipation the Vikings will use more three-wide receiver sets under first-year coach Kevin O’Connell after watching O’Connell and the Los Angeles Rams have success with that personnel.

Los Angeles was lauded for their commitment to 11 personnel sets (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) after deploying the formation on 83.6% of their offensive snaps.

However, it was largely a commitment to an offensive philosophy made of misfortune when tight end Johnny Mundt went down with an ACL tear in October 2021.

“When you’re looking at what we were doing in L.A., at one point we had Robert Woods, we had Cooper Kupp and then we kind of mixed in Odell [Beckham, Jr.] toward the end when Robert was out. So it’s really about the personnel that you have. We were more 12 personnel early in the year when we had a guy in [tight end] Johnny Mundt, who was an effective blocker in 12 personnel to go with [tight end Tyler] Higbee. Later on, that wasn’t the case,” Phillips said, per

In 2020 with a healthy Mundt and Tyler Higbee, the Rams had several games where they used 12 personnel packages (one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers) more than any other package.

Minnesota should still expect to see more 11 personnel sets than in years past, but being multiple is the biggest M.O. for O’Connell and Co.

Irv Smith Jr. should see plenty of action, but beyond him, the Vikings don’t have as many options at tight end after the departure of Tyler Conklin. Rudolph could supply experience in both pass-catching and blocking for the Vikings, and likely on an affordable deal with his desire to return to Minnesota.

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