On the most momentous day of his football career, with a recovery from hamstring surgery clouding things a bit, Kyle Rudolph's gut was so pretzeled with worry that he planned to take in a Reds game on the second night of the NFL Draft.
"After watching the whole (Thursday) night, it was like who cares if I'm sitting in front of a TV?" Rudolph said while en route to the ballpark. "Let's go out and do something. We were going to go regardless, whether I was picked or not."
Only overexcitement and taxed cell phones delayed his arrival. Rudolph was snared after just an hour's wait by the Vikings with the 11th pick of the second round, validating the decision to leave Notre Dame early despite the hamstring injury that cost him a chunk of 2010.
"Definitely a relief, but at the same time, it's a dream come true," Rudolph said. "I was definitely confident and I feel all the teams are confident in (the hamstring). They all know it's a non-issue."
After that hamstring avulsion in October, this was essentially the best-case scenario. The 6-foot-6-inch, 259-pounder was the first tight end selected, as expected, and he did not last long in the second round, as expected.
And Vikings tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser and Jeff Dugan all are entering the final season of their contracts.
"I know we have three tight ends on our roster right now, but when you have a player like (Rudolph) it's just too good to pass up,” Vikings VP of player personnel Rick Spielman said.
Here's a full Q & A from the Vikings with their newest roster addition:
Q: Were you surprised at all when the Vikings called?
A: Definitely a little bit surprised. I met with them at the combine but it was one of my 15 meetings I had at the combine. I was just watching, hoping my name would be called and I got the phone call and I’m super excited and I can’t wait to be a Viking.
Q: How much concern did teams express injury-wise?
A: The hamstring checked out completely 100%. It was something that I got fixed over six months ago and by the time my pro day came around I was 100%. The MRI shows it’s 100% healed and all the doctors dug and prodded on it and they can’t find anything.
Q: How exactly did that happen?
A: I had a pulled hamstring and kept trying to grind through it and eventually over time, I did it originally in July, I tore it off the bone in October. As time went on I tore it completely.
Q: If you could go back, would you have sat out longer?
A: Yeah, I definitely learned a lesson from it. Now I would take the time and miss a few games instead of trying to be a tough guy and grind through it. I missed a couple plays against Stanford when I tore the first tendon and then ended up missing the last quarter of the Pittsburgh game. Looking back, it would probably be smarter and better for my leg if I would have just taken some time off when I did it originally instead of trying to grind through it.
Q: Have you looked at the Vikings roster with three tight ends entering the final years of their contracts?
A: Yeah, they have the three veteran guys there. I have a lot of respect for those guys and I’m excited to learn from them. Like I said, I can’t be more thrilled to be a Viking and I have a lot of respect for those three veterans and hopefully I can learn a thing or two from them and play as long as they have.
Q: What do you know about Christian Ponder?
A: I met Christian at the combine. He seems like a great kid. Obviously he has a lot of physical ability and I’m excited to hopefully have long careers together.
Q: When were you expecting to go in the draft?
A: I was under the impression that it was more likely than not that I would go yesterday but my dream has come true and I’m in the NFL now. Like I said, I’m just excited to be a Viking.
Q: Was it tough last night when you didn’t get picked or were you expecting it because of your hamstring?
A: It was definitely tough because my hamstring is not an issue anymore. It’s something that is part of the past and it was a freak injury and it doesn’t happen that often in football if ever. It was something that I got fixed and it’s not a problem anymore so I was definitely disappointed but I have my family and friends around to keep me positive and we’re really excited.
Notre Dame TE Rudolph snagged by Vikings
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