Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph normally plays anywhere from 90 to 100 percent of the snaps on a weekly basis. But over the final three weeks of the season, as he battled an ankle injury, Rudolph played just 20, 35 and 32 total snaps.
On Wednesday, the Vikings’ tight end said that his ankle is in much better shape following the team’s week off.
“I needed it,” Rudolph said. “It was kind of the light at the end of the tunnel for me, just get to the Divisional round.”
Rudolph has been a key weapon for quarterback Case Keenum, especially on third downs and in the red zone. He scored eight touchdowns this season, seven of which came from inside the 20, and created 11 first downs on 14 third down receptions.
When asked how much the ankle was limiting his play over the final stretch of the year, Rudolph joked:
”Did you watch me play?” Pretty limited.”
Rudolph will have a challenging assignment against the New Orleans Saints. According to Football Outsiders’ data, they have allowed the sixth fewest yards to tight ends of any team in the NFL.
As far as whether he would be fully healthy, the Vikings’ tight end wouldn’t go that far.
”I feel a lot better,” Rudolph said. “I don’t think you could say anyone is 100 percent in the middle of January but I definitely feel a lot better after the time off.”