Found November 09, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Standout size and huge hands led the Minnesota Vikings to rave about their second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph and mention how he could be thrown the ball even when he's seemingly covered. Early this season, they seemed right as all 6-foot-6, 256 pounds of Rudolph was among the league leaders in receiving touchdowns and a key threat in the red zone. Lately, however -- perhaps not coincidentally as the Vikings' passing game has faltered -- covering Rudolph has led to stopping him. Rudolph, who's second on the team with 27 catches for 242 yards and five touchdowns, has just two receptions the past three games and has been held without a catch in two of those games. His blocking has improved to the point where he is credited with helping running back Adrian Peterson have three straight 100-yard games, but Minnesota knows it needs to get its big tight end catching the ball. "We believe in order for our offense to be effective in the passing game, we need to have him involved more so than we have of late," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Not just in the red zone. We always try to target him in the red zone, and people are doing everything they can to take him away. We need to find a way to uncover him in regular downs in a series as well." The Vikings (5-4) face a crucial stretch with four straight NFC North games beginning this week at home against the Detroit Lions (4-4) and could be without leading receiver Percy Harvin, who has more than double Rudolph's reception total. Rudolph says he hasn't seen different coverages or approaches from opposing defense since his strong start this season but added he needs to do more to make himself available to quarterback Christian Ponder. "I have to do a better job of providing a target for Christian, whether it's crossing routes or intermediate quick routes," Rudolph said. "The biggest thing is getting separation at the top. Throughout the course of the game a person can watch and see, Oh, you're open there.' But it's always about the timing of the separation, and we need to get back on that same page of having the separation at the right time." Minnesota has made a concerted effort to evaluate its struggling passing offense this week and has looked at changing routes to get receivers open. With tight end John Carlson returning from a concussion, the Vikings and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave have their preferred pass-catching options for two-tight end offensive sets. "We had high hopes," Musgrave said of using Rudolph and Carlson together. "I think we can still realize those. I think it's going to come to fruition,so we'll get that started this week if we can get him back out there, which we expect to." And Rudolph says he's still comfortable catching the ball, even when he's covered. "One hundred percent comfortable," Rudolph said. "That's why a tight end is your best friend. We're big, and we have a large catch radius, so it doesn't have to be a perfect throw. That's the part where you've just got to have trust in us that, Even if I don't make a perfect throw, he's going to get it. He's not going to let anything happen where a DB might get his hands on it.'" Vikings switch defensive ends on practice squad: Minnesota signed third-year defensive end George Johnson to the practice squad on Friday, waiving defensive end Ernest Owusu to make room. Owusu, who's been on and off the practice squad six times in the past six weeks, lasted two days on the practice squad this time around. Johnson, 24, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 1 after appearing in five games as a backup this season and making five assisted tackles. He was undrafted out of Rutgers in 2011 and played in four games last year before finishing the season on injured reserve. Follow Brian Hall onTwitter.

Adam Schefter: “No way” the Vikings let Percy Harvin leave

Before the season began, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin made it clear that he wants a new contract..  At the time the Vikings were hesitant to pay him, but after the way he’s played this season, he’s not going anywhere. ESPN’s Adam Schefter indicated in his weekly blog post that there’s no way the Vikings won’t give Harvin with a new deal. “Harvin has been...

Harvin misses practice, doubtful for Sunday

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. League leading receiver Percy Harvin is doubtful for the Minnesota Vikings' home game Sunday against the Detroit Lions after missing the past week of practice with a badly sprained ankle. Harvin -- who leads the league with 62 catches and a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns -- sprained his ankle in three places during last week's loss at Seattle. ...

Percy Harvin Officially Out For Week 10

Can’t give it a go Juan… It looked bleak and I never even thought about ranking Harvin this week as he called himself a ‘longshot’ to play this week.  Adam Shefter just reported what we thought initially earlier in the week. Schefter Tweeted: Viking wide receiver Percy Harvin will not play Sunday vs. Detroit due to his ankle injury. This is probably the best move for Harvin...

Williams cites 'loafs' for defense's struggles

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Since arriving during the offseason as the Minnesota Vikings' new defensive coordinator, Alan Williams has preached one basic tenant to his defense: aggressively run to the football. This season is Williams' first coordinating an NFL defense, and he's tried to simplify the team's approach with the intent of having players able to react more than...

Vikings' Harvin considered doubtful for Sunday

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin was held out of practice for a third straight day and listed Friday as doubtful for Sunday's game against Detroit. Harvin suffered an ankle injury last week and was on crutches afterward. But ESPN reported that coach Leslie Frazier is hoping Harvin could play against the Lions. "He still has a little less than 48 hours to...

Harvin Hurting, Peterson Primed

When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings offense, they have two objectives: get the ball to Adrian Peterson or get the ball to Percy Harvin. With the latter being deemed “extremely doubtful” for Sunday’s showdown with the Lions, Peterson figures to see a full workload, and then some. Christian Ponder has struggled mightily of late, and the subtraction of his top threat isn...

Injury SPIN: Harvin Likely OUT for Week 10

Percy Harvin (ankle) is a long shot to play in Week 10. Percy Harvin's headaches are no loner an issue and he has managed to not only stay on the field this year, but become one of the top fantasy football WRs. He's dynamic and the Vikings have made it a priority to find ways to get the ball in his hands. Well, not for week 10, so prepare accordingly.

Harvin misses third straight practice

Vikings WR Percy Harvin missed Friday’s practice with a sprained ankle, meaning he hasn’t practiced all week.

Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin likely will not play

Vikings WR Percy Harvin missed Friday?s practice with a sprained ankle, meaning he hasn?t practiced all week.

Percy Harvin Ruled Out For Week 10

Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has been ruled out for Week 10 due to an ankle injury. SOURCE: Adam Schefter, ESPNFantasy Spin:Like Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez, Harvin was supposed to be a game-time call Sunday but he was ruled out Saturday instead. That should save fantasy owners from having to make a tough last-second roster decision while also providing more time to find an alternative.

Play-action hasn’t created desired reaction

The Vikings’ ground game is as good as ever with Adrian Peterson, but opposing defenses don’t seem too concerned about the play-action passes.

Key matchup: Blue collar vs. blue chip

The Vikings have struggled to keep a clean pocket but have run up the middle more than anyone else. Both tasks will be the domain of John Sullivan while going up against Ndamukong Suh.
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.