Rudolph hopes to participate in playoff push

Tight end Kyle Rudolph is back at Winter Park after having surgery to repair a sports hernia last week and begins the rehabilitation process.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had been dealing with pain in his left side since early August, but he has an optimistic outlook on his recovery after having surgery last Tuesday to repair core injuries on both sides of his abdomen.

Rudolph said he and the medical staff originally thought it would be just a matter of pain management, but eventually everyone agreed that surgery to repair the sports hernia was the best option.

“About that first week of training camp was when I started to notice signs of the right side,” Rudolph said. “I actually got both sides fixed when I was there (for surgery with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia). I’m glad that I’m able to get them fixed and move forward, be healthy for this push to the playoffs. I think everybody saw that we have something special here going on yesterday. Me personally, watching on TV, I want to get back as fast as possible because I want to be a part of this.”

Rudolph is expected to miss about six weeks, and the Vikings decided against putting him on injured reserve/designated-for-return because they didn’t want to wait the additional two weeks that would be required on that list, further evidence that they expect him to be ready to play sometime in early November. The most likely timeframe would appear to be that he returns after the bye week on Nov. 9 and play at Chicago on Nov. 16.

“They have a timeframe. The only thing I can worry about is getting better,” Rudolph said. “I know I’m better today than I was yesterday and I’m a lot better than I was earlier last week. So, just making sure that when they do give me the green light I’m ready to go and I don’t go out there and try to come back too early and mess this up again.”

Head coach Mike Zimmer said on Monday the Vikings believe it will be less than eight weeks, which would have been required if the Vikings placed him on the short-term injured reserve list.

Rudolph said he walked out of surgery and he was walking still on Monday, although it’s clear there is still some discomfort, as should be expected only one week out of surgery.

Surgery appeared to be the only logical option after trying to manage the pain that was increasing week by week.

“With these injuries, you know they’re progressively going to get worse, but we tried everything we could to kind of make it week by week and it just got to the point where every Monday we were starting over again,” Rudolph said. “Just get it fixed now so when November, December, January (come) I’m playing at a high level.”

The hardest part, Rudolph said, is having to sit and watch his teammates, although he was impressed with their 41-28 win on Sunday.

“I learned it sucks. There’s nothing worse than being hurt and I said this a little bit this offseason: When you’re not able to be out there with your teammates and you’re either watching from the side or watching on TV, it’s hard,” he said. “But at the same time, I know this was necessary. We tried everything we could to avoid it, but I had to get it fixed and I think the bright side is that these guys are going to do great over the next six weeks and when I come back we have two months to make a run at the playoffs.”

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