Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph is a throwback.
At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, he can play on the line as a traditional blocker, but is also a pass-catching threat.
Rudolph will be the X-factor when the Vikings (9-2) face the Falcons (7-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Rudolph, who went to the Pro Bowl in 2012, has 46 catches for 429 yards and five touchdowns. His 46 catches are tied for seventh most among tight ends with New England’s Rob Gronkowski. His five touchdowns are fourth in the league at the tight end position.
“He’s not just a route runner,” Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen said. “He has really good hands. He’s a stud and a really good blocker.”
The Viking started Rudolph and David Morgan last week against Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Rudolph’s blocking in the run game has helped running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.
Because of his blocking, Rudolph is a force when Minnesota uses play-action fakes.
“He fakes like he’s blocking, and then he gets into his routes,” Allen said.
Rudolph caught two touchdown pass in the 30-23 win over Detroit. He is developing into quarterback Case Keenum’s favorite red-zone target.
“Case is amazing because he does so many small things to pick up first downs and keep drives alive,” Rudolph said.
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