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Kyle Rudolph Hosts 5th Annual Pro Camp

View images from the first of Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph's annual Hy-Vee football camp featuring Harrison Smith.

PLYMOUTH –Kyle Rudolph will report to Mankato for training camp in under two weeks, but he got in some drill work early.

The tight end on Tuesday capped off the two-day Kyle Rudolph Pro Camp. More than 600 youth, ages 6 to 14, attended the camp hosted at Providence Academy.

"The biggest thing is for these kids to come out here and have a ton of fun, learn a little bit about football, but most importantly, just be active," said Rudolph, who was joined by teammate Harrison Smith during Monday's activities.

"He shared with them [the attendees] the impact that coaches had on his life growing up," Rudolph said. "And for me, my message to them was just to have fun, enjoy it, and thank whomever it was that allowed them to be out here."

After a hot and sunny day on the fields Monday, the campers didn't let some inclement weather on Tuesday put a damper on their day. The large group started out in the gymnasium, where participants broke up into small groups with individual coaches and ran through a variety of drills that included a "perfect catch" station, sideline pass work and route running.

A few young athletes even got the chance to run through some dribbling drills with Rudolph, who took advantage of being indoors and briefly swapped his football for a basketball.

"It was fun," Rudolph said. "We dealt with the adversity, we went back in the gym, and I got a basketball back in my hand."

The second day was dubbed "Championship Tuesday." In addition to the instructional drills, races were run to find this year's fastest camper in each age division, and the large group also gathered to play games near the end of the day.

Recognition also was given to the young man who traveled the farthest to attend (Florida) and to participants whose parents are serving in the U.S. Military.

This week's event marked Rudolph's fifth Pro Camp. While Pro Camps puts on camps all over the country, it's uniquely special for Rudolph to be involved with the company that originated from his hometown of Cincinnati.

Sean Rowland, Vice President of Operations for Pro Camps, coached Rudolph's varsity basketball team at Elder High School. But Rowland knew Rudolph long before he hit the hardwood.

"My mom babysat Kyle when I was growing up. I've known Kyle since he was in diapers," Rowland said. "His brother would come over, too, and we'd be outside playing basketball, and you could just tell he was competitive, he was a big kid."

After coaching Rudolph throughout high school and then watching his journey through Notre Dame and to the Vikings, Rowland said it's been exciting to witness his development and his success.

"I can't put into words, really, how much it means to me to see everything he does off the field," said Rowland. "To see all the stuff that he does with the [children's] hospital and kids […], he's just always doing good.

"He's younger than me, but he's really a role model to me. I never thought a little kid that I saw growing up would be a role model, but he absolutely is," Rowland added. "He's got a lot of Minnesota Vikings fans in Cincinnati."

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