New York Giants: Kyle Rudolph is as reliable as they get

New York Giants sign Kyle Rudolph
Sep 27, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) catches a pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In a surprise move, general manager David Gettleman and the New York Giants announced they signed tight end Kyle Rudolph to a two-year $14-million deal, as reported by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

The New York Football Giants are getting a great player in Kyle Rudolph for many reasons. Becoming a fan-favorite during his 10-year career with the Minnesota Vikings, Rudolph was more than just a reliable tight end capable of pancaking defenders and catching footballs with just a few fingers in clutch moments. 

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Will Kyle Rudolph make a difference on the field?

New York Giants sign Kyle Rudolph
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates after defeating the New Orleans Saints in overtime of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Rudolph absolutely can be a difference-maker on gameday. The days of him gaining over 800 yards are likely gone as he’ll probably never see 132 targets again. But he can still haul in double-digit touchdowns if given the opportunity.

In 2019, Rudolph had a career-high 81.3% catch rate. For comparison’s sake, follow Giants tight end Evan Engram doesn’t come close to matching Rudolph’s efficiency.

Evan Engram career catch-percentage: 60.7%

Kyle Rudolph career catch-percentage: 68.1%

Now I’m not here to bash Evan Engram. That’s not what this is. Engram is a very special player who can take the top off the defense in ways Rudolph could never dream of. But Rudolph can help create space for Engram by taking attention away from him in underneath while Engram does his thing. 

The two players can work alongside one another very well if done right.

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Kyle Rudolph’s impact on the locker room

As much as Rudolph can help the G-Men on the field, he can also help them in other areas. 

Rudolph was a true member of the community, routinely being nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Part of his efforts on and off the field helped Rudolph earn respect in the locker room by being named a team captain during his time with the Vikings.

Sure the two-time Pro Bowl tight end may be 31 years old and ready for a new chapter, but he’s not on some quest to salvage his career. His skills have not diminished. Of course, he may not be the quickest guy on the field. However, he can still be effective.

Tight ends can make an impact into their mid-to-late 30s. The one they call Rudolph the Red Zone Reindeer shouldn’t decline as much as someone who relies on sharp cuts or yards after the catch to earn their bread. Rudolph will be a large “mattress” for Daniel Jones to target in the end zone at MetLife Stadium.

Kyle Rudolph has hands of glue

In basketball, if you have hands of glue, that either means you are selfish or you are a great rebounder. Despite Rudolph’s hooping background, that means he doesn’t drop passes and will rarely fumble. In fact, in his 453 career catches, Rudolph has only ever lost one fumble.

It’s not hard to Google Kyle Rudolph highlights and see the amazing catches he has made throughout his career, many coming in clutch moments with the game on the line. If there is one player Daniel Jones will learn he can trust at any time, it’s Rudolph.

By the way, in his time in the Twin Cities, Rudolph was routinely seen at the Target Center taking in Minnesota Timberwolves games. We’ll see whether his love for basketball drives him to take in any NBA games while a member of the G-Men.

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What does Kyle Rudolph’s signing mean for Evan Engram?

Evan Engram, Giants
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the grand scheme of things, it really shouldn’t mean anything bad for Evan Engram’s days with the Big Blue. NFL offenses routinely use sets consisting of two or three tight ends. Engram and Rudolph are both talented tight ends, but they are obviously very different in size and athleticism.

Engram should still be able to flourish as the No. 1 tight end option for Danny Dimes, but Rudolph’s presence helps the offense look less predictable. On any given play, whether he is blocking or running a route, Rudolph has a high football IQ and usually gets the job done.

Since Rudolph has 140 games of experience, he can likely give Engram a few pointers should anything present itself.

At the end of the day, the New York Football Giants are getting a steal with the signing of Kyle Rudolph in many aspects. GM Dave Gettleman made a great move for the sake of the offense by bringing in an NFL Pro in the truest form.