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After Further Review: Different Difficulty Levels for Rudolph's 2 TDs Versus Lions

After Further Review is a deeper look at plays or stats after Vikings games…

Kyle Rudolph made his receptions count against the Lions on Thursday.

The Vikings tight end finished the game with four receptions for 63 yards that included two scores.

The first was an easy pitch-and-catch from Case Keenum from the 1-yard line that was set up by the threat of the run.

The second put important points on the board with just 37 seconds left in the first half and showcased Keenum's ability to deliver a gem under pressure and Rudolph's ability to beat a linebacker and track the ball.

Here's another look at both scores.

Q1, 5:34 remaining — Second-and-goal at the Detroit 1

The Vikings have marched an impressive 79 yards on their opening possession with a blend of runs and passes and three important third-down conversions. After Stefon Diggs moved the chains with a 7-yard gain, Latavius Murray gashed Detroit for a 10-yarder to the 2.

The Vikings go with 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) on the first-and-goal play, which is another handoff to Murray for a gain of 1.

Minnesota then opts to go with 23 personnel (two running backs, three tight ends) by bringing fullback C.J. Ham and adding in tight end Blake Bell along with Rudolph and David Morgan.

The quick change in personnel prompts Detroit to sub in its goal-line unit, and three defenders come streaming in as the Vikings are approaching the line of scrimmage, but the Lions only have 10 total defenders instead of 11.

The Vikings line up in the I-formation, and Keenum fakes a handoff to Murray as Rudolph, Ham and Bell head for the end zone. Murray does a great job picking up the rush by Anthony Zettel as Ham draws the attention of linebacker Paul Worrilow, leaving Rudolph ample room for the easy grab.

Q2, :43 remaining — First-and-10 at the Detroit 22

The Vikings have one timeout remaining and a fresh set of downs after a 14-yard catch by Jarius Wright and a delay of game penalty against Tahir Whitehead, so Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and Keenum are able to take a shot for the end zone while the Lions have to cover a significant amount of territory.

The Vikings are in 11 personnel with running back Jerick McKinnon at running back and Rudolph at tight end. Minnesota lines up in the shotgun with McKinnon to Keenum's right. Thielen, Diggs and Wright line up on the left side of the formation, and Rudolph is lined up on the right side on the line of scrimmage.

The Lions are in dime coverage with six defensive backs, one linebacker and four defensive linemen.

Lions safety Miles Killebrew leaves the middle of the field and approaches the line of scrimmage outside of Rudolph to come on a blitz, leaving Glover Quin to patrol the deep middle of the field in single-high coverage.

Thielen and Wright work the left and center part of the turf as Diggs runs a shallow route across the field.

McKinnon has released into the flat and drawn coverage of safety Tavon Wilson.

Keenum knows he has Killebrew coming in hot from the right and Rudolph running a 7 route against Whitehead. Rudolph has a leverage advantage on Whitehead before the snap because the linebacker is lined up on the right hash mark, several steps inside of Rudolph.

Keenum puts plenty of air on the ball, allowing Rudolph to track it near the front right corner of the end zone. He puts it on the money between Rudolph and the sideline, safely away from Quin in spite of the hit from Killebrew.

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