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Kyle Rudolph thinks people still underrate Kyle Rudolph

Jeff Heath, Kyle Rudolph

Jeff Heath, Kyle Rudolph


Two years ago, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said he’d put himself “up there with anyone” when it comes to ranking the league’s best tight ends.

Rudolph’s feelings haven’t changed.

When Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press asked Rudolph if he still considers himself the league’s best tight end, Rudolph not only had his answer ready but also had an explanation.

Absolutely,” Rudolph said. “Route running and catching balls, to many, is all that matters. But it’s also [about] being one of the best blockers, one of the best pass protectors.

“The world revolves around fantasy football. That’s just the nature of sports right now, and that’s just the way it is. But I know that when I come to work every Monday, and I [watch] the film, I may have only caught two balls, but if I did my job in the run game and pass protection, [Vikings coach Mike Zimmer] is going to be happy.”

Rudolph knows his 2015 numbers -- 49 catches, a career-high 495 yards -- aren’t in the same galaxy as those Rob Gronkowski and other tight ends put up around the pass-happy NFL. And at the same time he was essentially saying “watch the tape,” he was also dropping a hint that he’d like to surpass his career highs in receptions (53 in 2012) and touchdowns (nine, also in 2012) in 2016.

“I want to have the best season that I’ve had as a Viking,” Rudolph said. “It’s no secret we need to become more balanced, and I think I play a part in that.”