Vikings Season Snap Counts: Rudolph just keeps going and going and going
Kyle Rudolph wasn’t even supposed to be on the team this year.
That speculation followed Rudolph into the summer after the Minnesota Vikings selected Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round.
Rudolph’s contract was set to expire after the season, and the combination of a cheap, talented tight end in Smith Jr., the aging Rudolph and the Vikings’ lack of cap space, it almost made sense that he’d be cut to save cash.
Well, the Vikings did the opposite. General manager Rick Spielman locked up Rudolph to a four-year deal worth $36 million before training camp.
And what did Rudolph do? He rewarded Minnesota by hauling in the biggest catch of the year, a four-yard grab in overtime that secured the Vikings’ wild-card win over New Orleans.
It wouldn’t be outrageous to say Rudolph was the Vikings’ most consistent offensive player in 2019.
In a season riddled with injuries to key players like wide receiver Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook, the 30-year-old Rudolph stayed on the field the entire season.
He played 78.1% of the snaps, which was the highest among all Vikings offensive players, sans offensive linemen and quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Rudolph appeared in all 16 games, even in the meaningless regular-season finale against Chicago where the majority of the starters sat out. Rudolph played exactly one snap in that contest to keep his streak going of consecutive starts.
Other notes from the 2019 snap counts:
— Garrett Bradbury, the 18th overall pick in the 2019 draft, led all Vikings players with 1,114 snaps on offense.
— For the third straight year, safety Harrison Smith led Vikings defenders by playing in 89.9% of the snaps.
— Second to Bradbury in snap counts among rookies was tight end Irv Smith Jr., the Vikings’ second-round pick, with 685 (59.6%).
— Other 2019 draft picks and their playing time percentage on offense: RB Alexander Mattison (3rd round), 18.53%; OL Dru Sami (4th round), 2.69%; OT Oli Udoh (6th round), 2.69%; WR Dillon Mitchell (7th round), DNP (practice squad); WR Olabisi Johnson (7th round), 51.95%.
— 2019 draft picks and their playing time on defense: LB Cameron Smith (5th round), 2.70%; DT Armon Watts (6th round), 9.91%; S Marcus Epps (6th round), 0.98% (waived in November, claimed by Philadelphia); CB Kris Boyd (7th round), 7.95%.
— After playing in 51.7% of the offensive snaps last year, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell played in just 15.1% this season. The guy who beat Treadwell out of a spot at roster cuts, Josh Doctson, only had seven offensive snaps.
— Seventh-round pick Johnson ended up on the field more than Thielen (47.25%).
— Safety Anthony Harris saw his playing time increase in 2019. He appeared in 84.91% of the defensive snaps, fourth-most on the team, compared to 59.6% in 2018.
— Speaking of safeties: Andrew Sendejo returned to Minnesota in early November. He played in six games and had 208 snaps (17.04%).
— Linebacker Kentrell Brothers didn’t see a lot of snaps – 110 (9.01%) – but it was a big step up from last season when he was just on the field for five defensive plays.
Here’s the season snap counts – including playoffs – on offense and defense for the 2019 Minnesota Vikings:
TOTAL SNAPS (OFFENSE)
TOTAL SNAPS (DEFENSE)