Minnesota Vikings: Jay Novacek

MINNEAPOLIS -- The corner route Kyle Rudolph ran in the second quarter Saturday night, lining up between the hash marks at the Minnesota Vikings' 49 and roaming to his left just inside the numbers at the Arizona Cardinals' 30-yard line, is exactly the kind for which Rudolph lost 15 pounds this offseason. It's an effort to become the latest Norv Turner tight end to feast in the middle of a defense.

Rudolph spent his offseason watching film of tight ends in Turner's offenses, from the Cleveland Browns' Jordan Cameron all the way back to the Dallas Cowboys' Jay Novacek, and slimmed down in an effort to speed up. He knew what kind of a role could be waiting for him with Turner as the Vikings' offensive coordinator, and he wanted to put himself into position to seize it.

So far, Rudolph has done exactly that. He caught one pass for 22 yards in the Vikings' preseason opener and followed it up with four catches for 89 yards, including his 51-yard touchdown from Matt Cassel on the aforementioned corner route, in the Vikings' win Saturday night over the Arizona Cardinals. The tight end, who got a five-year contract extension earlier this month, seems set to earn his money the same way Turner's tight ends have done it for years.

"He came up to me when he was out [in the] first half, and said, 'That guy you've got upstairs is a genius,'" coach Mike Zimmer said. "He was talking about Norv. You know, our coaches do a good job coaching these guys, and the players are really liking what they are doing."

It always seemed like Rudolph stood to reap significant gains from Turner's offense, and the early returns in the preseason suggest he's right at home. He caught another deep out Saturday -- a week after nearly scoring a touchdown on the same route against the Oakland Raiders -- and seems to have full faith in Turner's scheme.

History would suggest that, as a tight end, he should. He's seen hints of the payoff early in the preseason.

"On that 51-yard touchdown, we were sitting on the bench, and [Turner] said, 'Get ready for it -- I think it looks good,'" Rudolph said. "And sure enough, two plays later, he calls it. He just has that feel. He sits up in the box, and I think he kind of has his little glass ball that he can look into. He just always seems to dial up plays at the right time."
Each week, I will field questions via Twitter with the hashtag #VikingsMail, then will deliver the answers over the weekend.

Adrian Peterson heads home to Texas

October, 31, 2013
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Last December, when Adrian Peterson traveled to Houston for the Vikings' game against the Texans, he got requests for more than 100 tickets from family and friends. Peterson lives in Houston in the offseason, and he was returning to Texas for a regular-season game for the first time since his rookie season in 2007.

But Peterson grew up in Palestine, Texas, just under two hours southeast of Dallas. He rooted for the Cowboys as they won championships in the early 1990s and attended one game at Texas Stadium as the guest of a local reporter as a junior in high school. This homecoming, then, might mean more -- and might be in higher demand. Peterson said he's only got 62 tickets for this year's game.

"Everybody's not going to be able to make this trip," he said. "But it's still a lot, and it will be fun."

Peterson said his favorite players as a kid were Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Deion Sanders and of course Emmitt Smith, whose career rushing record Peterson hopes to break one day.

"Just [a] smart player, always ran hard," Peterson said. "He had an incredible offensive line, but he was so smooth when he ran."

There will be one major difference between this game and the Texans game last December, though; Peterson can't guarantee his whole family will be rooting for his team this time.

"My whole family [is] Cowboy fans. I have family that’s going to root for the Cowboys this weekend, and I understand that," Peterson said. "I don’t really get into it that much. Some of them, I’m sure they’re going to root for me as well, but if the Cowboys win, that’s what they’re going to be hoping for."

The 2012 NFL MVP also said the hamstring injury that has been bothering him for several weeks is mostly healed, adding an MRI showed no damage to his leg or his knee.

"Before then I didn’t know what was going on. Was something torn? You guys know how your mind can do you at times," Peterson said. "Just having that security after getting the results back, I was able to play a lot better [Sunday against Green Bay] than I had the past two weeks."