EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Tight end Kyle Rudolph had gone nearly a full game Sunday without catching a pass. The first time Rudolph was able to get his hands on the ball, it helped the Minnesota Vikings secure an important 21-14 win against the Chicago Bears.
This wasn't quite how Rudolph envisioned himself making an impact, but his biggest play of the game was hauling in an onside kick from Chicago to allow the Vikings to run out the clock.
"Well, he had the onside kick," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave joked when asked by a reporter this week about Rudolph's zero-catch game. "That was his first touch of the game. I congratulated him for that."
It was an important play, and Rudolph is a perfect player for the "hands" team. But the 2011 second-round pick was noticeably absent previously. Rudolph is generally a quiet player, one who chooses not to be a disruption.
So, his frustration after the win was a big surprising. Minnesota had just won an important game in its quest to reach the...