• Phil Houk

All-Time Irish Hero: Kyle Rudolph

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Kyle Rudolph had a superb three-year career at ND starting in 2008 that was limited by injuries. Despite this his impact when on the field should never be in doubt and has been validated by a stellar NFL career, and exemplary work off the field.

The 6-6 265-pound tight end hailed from Cincinnati and was a first team high school All-American. Impressively, Rudolph also ranked as the 20th best recruiting prospect in the nation his senior year.

In 2008, he quickly incorporated into Charlie Weis’s offense and as a freshman started all 13 games He hauled in 29 Jimmy Clausen passes good for 340 yards and set the all-time school record for freshman tight end catches in the process.

By his sophomore year he was on the national radar but had his season shortened to 10 games due to a shoulder injury. Rudolph still managed another 33 catches for 364 yards and game wining touchdown catches in 2 games.

By his Junior year the NFL was definitely on the horizion and Brian Kelly had come to South Bend. Unfortunately, Rudolph’s season was again derailed, this time by a serious hamstring injury after 6 games (an injury that opened the door for a guy named Tyler Eifert). Despite the shortened season his play was outstanding. He totaled 28 catches for 328 yards including a 164 yard day against Michigan. That game included a 95 yard touchdown.

The following April the Minnesota Vikings made him the first TE selected in the 2011 NFL Draft and since then he has gone on to a great NFL career. Over the last 10 seasons, all with the Vikings, he has piled up 429 catches, 4200 yards and 48 touchdowns.

Rudolph currently serves as a Viking co-captain along with another former ND standout, Harrison Smith. In the spring of 2020 he headed an effort in Minneapolis called "Rudy's Meal Plan" that provided 82,000 meals to kids in need due to Covid-19. Efforts like this among many others have led to him being named the Minnesota Vikings "Community Man of the Year", in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

For an exemplary career both on and off the field, Kyle Rudolph is another.... all-time Irish hero.

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