MINNEAPOLIS -- Dan Rudolph has made sure his son is a member of his fantasy football team every year since Kyle Rudolph was drafted by the Vikings in 2011.
Dan plays in a touchdown-only league, so there have been a lot of lean weeks and even years when Kyle didn’t produce a lot of scores.
Lately, though, Kyle Rudolph has been very productive for his dad’s fantasy football team, as well as for the Vikings.
Rudolph has scored three touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the Vikings’ last two games — wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.
He followed up his two-TD, two-point conversion game in Dallas, with the game-winning 32-yard catch in Sunday’s 27-23 victory over the Broncos.
“I’m allowed to come home this week, finally,” Rudolph said, jokingly referring to how he’ll spend the Vikings’ bye week.
It will be a much more enjoyable week after the Vikings rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit against the Broncos.
“You don‘t want to put yourself in a 20-point hole but you’ve got to love the resiliency of this team to fight for four quarters,” Rudolph said. “We knew it was going to take offense, defense, special teams in the second half to play perfect for 30 minutes. And we did that.”
Rudolph accounted for 30 of the Vikings’ 47 yards of offense in the first half with three receptions. He finished with five catches for 67 yards, none more vital than his TD.
“It was a tempo play,” Rudolph said. “We got up on the ball quickly. I hadn’t caught it all week in practice. That’s two weeks in a row I caught a touchdown on a play I didn’t get all week in practice.”
Rudolph wasn’t just instrumental on the field. Teammates talked about how he spoke up at halftime. He downplayed the impact of his words.
“I said just that we have the guys; we have the team. We can’t count ourselves out,” Rudolph said. “It just took that first one, getting that first first down, getting the first points.”
The first points came on the opening drive of the second half when Irv Smith Jr. caught a 10-yard pass from Kirk Cousins, who, according to Rudolph, played a role in the rally both on the field and off it.
On the field, Cousins hit 29 of 35 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Off it …
“Kirk was reminding guys we couldn’t score 20 points (at once). We can’t get this whole lead back. It takes one drive. It takes one play,” Rudolph said. “That’s what we embodied the whole second half. I knew if we could get a touchdown on that first drive, we’d get some momentum.”
The momentum continued with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, capped by Rudolph’s game-winning catch to lift the Vikings to an 8-3 record.
“This is what we play for,” Rudolph said. “I said all week we need to get to 8-3. You want to set yourself up to play meaningful games in December.”