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Kyle Rudolph Wants Vikings Offense to Keep Trending Up

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Kyle Rudolph and the rest of the Vikings veterans have exactly one week until they report to training camp on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Players have spent the past few weeks training and tuning their bodies for the grind ahead, but that preparation extends to the mental aspect of the game, too.

Rudolph said at the conclusion of the Vikings minicamp last month that all players are expected to hit the ground running once training camp gets underway.

"The biggest thing, and Coach [Mike] Zimmer just touched on it as we broke as a team, you spend nine weeks developing technique and developing habits," Rudolph said back in June. "Make sure you stay on those and do not let those sneak away. You continue to get better and you climb."

Rudolph's position coach, Clancy Barone, summed up Zimmer's message with a strong visual graphic.

"Coach Barone, in our (offensive meeting) room, drew a stock market (chart)," Rudolph said. "You make some progress and you go down, but you are constantly climbing, and now we take five weeks off.

"Let's make sure we come back and not have a huge drop. It is always important to enjoy your time away," Rudolph added. "This is our last break before hopefully we are at it for the next seven months, but make sure you stay on top of it, whether it is every couple days making sure you are staying on your football, making sure you are staying in your playbook, but at the same time, enjoy your summer, be smart, and be ready to work."

While Rudolph makes his living as a tight end and not on Wall Street, the former first-round pick's stock would be trending up after a strong 2016 season.

Rudolph was near the top in almost all major statistical categories, as Rudolph finished third among all tight ends with 83 catches, tied for third with seven touchdown catches and was fourth with 840 receiving yards.

Rudolph's stock could qualify as one of the safest picks on the Vikings offense. Minnesota has new faces on the offensive line and at running back.  Sam Bradford is positioned to benefit from his first full offseason at quarterback, where Teddy Bridgewater is continuing to rehab a knee injury.

The Vikings are also hoping multiple players step up at wide receiver behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.

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

Yet as the Vikings prepare to navigate a full season with Pat Shurmur as the offensive coordinator, Rudolph likes where the entire offensive unit is at entering training camp.

"I think one of the things that Pat Shurmur does well, and is what we have kind of got to as he took over last year, was recognizing what we do well and trying to make things simpler for us, yet more complex to the defense," Rudolph said. "If we can do things that we do well, let's just do those things more often, and I think that is one of the things that we got to last year, and we were able to see our offense kind of kicking up strides there to the end."

The trick is to keep the arrow pointed in the right direction.

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