Tight end Kyle Rudolph said Wednesday that “it was certainly an interesting 24 hours” leading up to his finally signing a two-year, $12 million free agent contract with the New York Giants on Wednesday morning.
Rudolph had reportedly flown into New Jersey to take a physical and sign his contract on Monday, but the physical raised concerns from the Giants with a foot injury that has caused Rudolph to miss the final four games of the 2020 season as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The Giants and Rudolph’s reps were said to have been working out a “medical plan” before the deal was finalized.
“Everyone expected it [the foot] to heal on its own and it didn’t,” Rudolph said. “It needs to be fixed and like I said, I’m just extremely grateful for the Giants’ medical staff, Dr. [Scott] Rodeo, everyone that was involved in the process. I’m excited to get it fixed and move past it.”
Rudolph said he will have the surgery “as soon as possible,” though an exact date has yet to be determined. He said he expects to be ready when the season begins.
After 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, the 31-year-old said he had interest from “12 or 13” teams.
“Each and every day were new updates, new teams, new opportunities and I remember telling my wife; we were sitting at lunch in Minnesota with our two-year old son and I just got off the phone with coach [Joe] Judge and coach [Jason] Garrett and at that point there were 12 or 13 different options and I knew New York was the place that I needed to be,” Rudolph said. “This was the team; this was the organization that we needed to go to next. As soon as I hung up the phone, I knew that this was the perfect fit.”
In a film study of Rudolph, our Nick Falato wrote:
This addition should help this team in every facet of tight end play. Rudolph is a better run blocker than Evan Engram and he should act, most of the time, as the majority play-side blocker on some of the more utilized power/gap concepts.
Rudolph is also a more traditional “Y” type of tight end; the type of player that Jason Witten was in Garrett’s system. A big-bodied tight end who can block, but also has very secure hands and acts as a good check-down option in the short to intermediate parts of the football field. Rudolph would be much better suited than Engram on those spacing concepts that require quick adjustment ability and soft natural hands - something that Engram just doesn’t possess.
Rudolph can also act as a better pass protector in six-man protection packages when the running back releases into a route. He’s got quick feet, for his size, and long arms and usually does well enough to allow the quarterback to get rid of the football. He can also add a valuable red zone threat and he’s a better route runner from the tight end position. Engram is a much better athlete who is much more explosive and dangerous with the football in his hands, but there’s little doubt that Rudolph is a better fit for what Garrett wants to do with this offense.
Rudolph, who has 453 catches and 4488 receiving yards in his career has been used more in a blocking role the past two seasons.
“I’m looking forward to being able to bring both of those aspects [blocking and receiving]. Being able to improve my run game, pass protection over the last couple of years but knowing that I could certainly still help a football team, whether it be on first down and second down, third down, in the red zone. I really look forward to working with Evan and I think we can complement each other very well,” Rudolph said. “Obviously, he does things that I can’t even imagine of doing, but then you look throughout the rest of our room with Kaden [Smith] and Levine [Toilolo] and everyone that we have. We have four guys that can really go out and play at a high level.
“I think it allows your offense to really put defenses in tough situations when you can put multiple tight ends on the field. It really allows us to dictate how the game is going to go. I’m not even going to mention all the playmakers in the receiver room, there’s just so many opportunities for this offense to go out and put pressure on defenses. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
Hopefully, his soon-to-be-surgically-repaired foot will heal sooner rather than later so that Rudolph can be a part of the Giants’ offense throughout the entire season.