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Updated: April 29th, 2011 7:22pm
Q&A with Kyle Rudolph: 'My hamstring is not an issue anymore'

Q&A with Kyle Rudolph: 'My hamstring is not an issue anymore'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings second-round pick Kyle Rudolph was mildly surprised for two reasons on Friday night.

First off, he wasn't necessarily expecting the Vikings to be the team to draft him.

And secondly, Rudolph figured there was a good chance he'd be selected in the first round.

If not for tearing his hamstring off the bone just four months before the NFL combine, he likely would have been selected earlier.

Here's what Rudolph had to say about these surprises in a conference call on Friday night:

Were you surprised the Vikings were interested?

Definitely a little bit surprised. I met with them at the combine, but it was one of my 15 meetings that I had at the combine. I was just watching, hoping my name would be called soon, and I got the phone call and I was a super excited and I can't wait to be a Viking.

How much concern did teams express about your hammy?

No, the hamstring checked out completely 100 percent. It was something that I got it fixed over six months ago, and by the time my pro day came around I was 100 percent, and the MRI showed it's 100 percent healed, and all the doctors dug and prodded on it, and they can't find anything.

How did the injury happen?

It was something that I had a pulled hamstring and kept trying to grind through it, and eventually over time -- I did it originally in July, then eventually I tore it off the bone in October. So as time went on, I eventually tore it completely.

If you could do it all over, would you have sat out longer?

I learned a lesson from it. It's something now, taking the time, missing a few games instead of being a tough guy and grind through it. I missed a couple plays in Stanford when I tore the first tendon, and then ended up missing the last quarter of the Pitt game. Looking back, it'd probably be smarter and better for my leg if I would have just taken some time off when I did it originally instead of trying to grind through it.

Have you looked at the Vikings' roster? They do have three tight ends, but all of them are nearing the end of their contracts.

They have the three veteran guys there, and I have a lot of respect for those guys. I'm excited to learn from them. Like I said, I can't be more thrilled to be a Viking, and I have a lot of respect for those three veterans, and hopefully I can learn a thing or two from them and play as long as they have.

What do you know about Christian Ponder?

I met Christian at the combine. He seems like a great kid. Obviously has a lot of physical ability, and I'm excited. Hopefully we'll have long careers together.

Were you expecting to be taken in the first round?

Yeah, I was under the impression that it was more likely than not that I would go yesterday, but my dream's come true and I'm in the NFL now, and like I said, I'm just excited to be a Viking.

Tough night last night then? Or did you figure teams would be nervous about the hamstring?

No, it was definitely tough, because my hamstring is not an issue anymore. It's something that is part of the past, and it was a freak injury. It doesn't happen in football that often, if ever, and it was something that I got fixed, and it's not a problem anymore. So I was definitely disappointed, but like I said, I have my family and friends around. They keep me positive, and now we're really excited...

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph
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