The Vikings second round draft pick Kyle Rudolf should expect more playing time earlier in the regular season than anticipated. With Visanthe Shaincoe nursing a pulled hamstring that has kept him out of the first two preseason games, the Vikings will be counting on Rudolph to pick up the offensive slack that is left void without Shaincoe on the field. Shaincoe tweeked his hamstring early on in training camp and has since been scratched in the Vikings home opening pre-season game against the Cowboys. The goal of keeping Shaincoe out of the first three preseason games, and probably the fourth and final preseason game, is that so Shaincoe is ready to suit up for the first regular season game.
Most player’s young and old don’t bounce back quickly from hamstring problems and with Shaincoe being 31 years old it’s especially important that he doesn’t come back too soon. If Shaincoe comes back too soon, or plays too much too soon, and pulls his hamstring again he could easily miss 3 to 4 games, or more. So while Shaincoe will probably be good to go for the first regular season game, look for Rudolph to be getting more reps than earlier anticipated.
Rudolf will do alright in his place. Although Rudolf isn’t known as a great blocking Tight End, he does have speed, size and great hands. These skills should keep opposing defensive linebackers honest in respect to their preference to zone in on Peterson and give McNabb a big target to throw at in Rudolph. Rudolph has caught four passes earning him 32 yards thus far in his first two preseason NFL games.