Kyle Rudolph became a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career, replacing the injured Tony…
MVP Rudolph highlights Vikings in Pro Bowl
As a result, many thought that someone like Adrian Peterson, who refuses to go half-speed at any time, would be one of the shining stars of the game. Instead, it was tight end Kyle Rudolph who won the Most Valuable Player award.
Rudolph was selected to the Pro Bowl roster only after veteran Tony Gonzalez opted out after his Falcons lost out to San Francisco for the Super Bowl last Sunday. Rudolph caught five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown – all in the first half when the result of the game was still in question – and he had a chance for a touchdown in the second half, but, on an improvised play by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin undercut Rudolph like a safety to make the catch and go in for the score.
His MVP award was deserved, but, seeing as that a week earlier, he wasn't even on the NFC roster, Rudolph said in a postgame interview on NBC that he couldn't have imagined a week that started and ended so differently.
"I never would have dreamed this in my wildest dreams," Rudolph said. "Just to be here for this week was truly an honor."
It would have been easy to give the award to Wilson, who didn't complete a pass to Rudolph, despite completing eight of 10 throws and three of them for touchdowns. Yet, Rudolph was awarded, having his name put on a trophy that bears the names of players like Otto Graham, Chuck Bednarik, Ollie Mattson, Johnny Unitas, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Jim Brown, Fran Tarkenton, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Walter Payton, Dan Fouts, Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Vikings Ahmad Rashad, Randy Moss and Peterson. The only other tight end to take home the trophy was Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers in 1982 – seven years before Rudolph was conceived.
Rudolph, being interviewed after the announcement by Michele Tafoya on NBC, said that he was as stunned as anyone that he was selected.
"There were a lot of great players that deserved this more than I did," Rudolph said. "To receive this honor – to have my name on the trophy with those past players – it's a dream come true."
Asked where he thinks the Vikings will go next year, he hopes to see the same incremental improvement that Minnesota saw in 2012.
"I expect us to make the next jump," Rudolph said. "We made the jump from my first year to my second year. We need to put in that same effort this offseason to make that next jump from a 10-6 team to farther in the playoffs."
On a night that the NFL was hammering home the point of players making an effort, nobody embodied that spirit more than Rudolph. He has put his name among the elite and perhaps given a sense of entitlement to the Pro Bowl as a viable football game that deserves fan interest.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
OhioPrepScene.com Recommended Stories
Michigan: Brandon Resigns, Hackett Interim AD
Michigan President Mark Schlissel officially announced the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon Friday. Schlissel appointed Jim Hackett as the interim AD with the plan moving forward to hire…Read More
Hoops: Where are the Top Recruits Going?
The initial basketball signing period begins in less than two weeks and there are currently 22 players in Scout.com's 2015 top 100 still uncommitted. Who are those 22 players considering and who will…Read More
Catch Big Fall Bass on Natural Lakes and Rivers
Check out some great tips for bass fishing up north as the water cools on its way into winter. There is some great fishing to be had right now before it gets too cold.Read More
10 Creepy Trail Cam Pics For Halloween
Most of us would prefer to be sitting in our treestand on Halloween, waiting for a rutting buck to wonder past, than following our kids from house to house scrambling for treats. Here are a 10 spooky…Read More
2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
We're at the halfway mark of the NFL season, so here's our first crack at a mock draft. Hey, Oakland Raiders, you're on the clock!Read More