NEW YORK – Former University of Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph was selected with the 43rd overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft and was the first Fighting Irish player taken in this year's draft.
Rudolph becomes the third Notre Dame tight end drafted in the first two rounds in the last six years (Anthony Fasano, Dallas, 2006, second round; John Carlson, Seattle, 2008, second round) and the seventh Fighting Irish tight end selected since 2001.
Rudolph becomes the first Notre Dame player drafted by the Vikings since center John Sullivan in 2008 (sixth round, 187th selection).
One of the most talented tight ends in school history, Rudolph totaled 90 receptions for 1,032 yards with eight touchdowns and started 28 of 29 career games played in his three seasons at Notre Dame. Rudolph totaled the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in school history.
Despite missing nine games as a sophomore and junior due to injury, Rudolph was named a semifinalist in 2009 and 2010 for the John Mackey Award (college football's top tight end). Prior to the 2010 season, he was named first-team preseason All-America by Sporting News, Lindy's and Yahoo! Sports.
As a junior, Rudolph tallied 28 receptions for 328 receiving yards and three TDs while starting each of the first six games. He was on pace to break Notre Dame's single-season record of receptions by a tight end and record the second-most receiving yards in a season by an Irish tight end prior to sustaining a season-ending hamstring injury. The highlight of Rudolph's 2010 season occurred in the second game as he tallied a career-best 164 receiving yards on eight receptions and one TD against Michigan. Included in that game was a 95-yard touchdown reception, the second-longest pass play in Notre Dame history.
In 2009, Rudolph was the only sophomore named a semifinalist for the Mackey Award. He started nine of 10 games played and ranked third on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with 33 catches for 364 yards and three TDs.
Rudolph became the first freshman to start a season opener at tight end for the Irish in 2008 and he started every game in his rookie season. Rudolph caught 29 passes for 340 yards and two TDs and established freshman tight end receiving records.
Kyle Rudolph's Place in the Irish Record Books
- Single-Game Receiving Yards By Tight End – 1st, 164 yards (Sept. 11, 2010 vs. Michigan)
- Single-Game Receptions By Tight End – 2nd, 8 (Sept. 11, 2010 vs. Michigan and Sept. 18, 2010 at Michigan State)
- Career Receptions By Tight End – 4th, 90
- Career Receiving Yards By Tight End – 4th, 1,032 yards
- Single-Season Receptions By Tight End – 7th, 33 (2009)
- Single-Season Receptions By Tight End – 9th, 29 (2008)
- Single-Season Receptions By Tight End – T-10th, 28 (2010)