In ESPN Insider's offseason blueprint project, Matt Williamson identified three players -- wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, tight end Kyle Rudolph and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd -- as candidates to help the Minnesota Vikings improve through their own development. As critical as Patterson and Floyd might seem, Rudolph could be the player whose progression has the biggest effect on the Vikings' offense.
As we discussed last week, Rudolph could thrive under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who's got a long and impressive resume with tight ends. He's been a reliable red zone threat, but if he can turn into a Jason Witten-type weapon in the middle of the field, joining Patterson and Greg Jennings, the Vikings could open up a new layer of their offense and make life easier for both Adrian Peterson and a prospective new quarterback.
It would also be a good time for Rudolph to take off, too. He'll be a free agent after next season, and could be in line for a contract extension before then. The 2013 Pro Bowl MVP was on track for his best season before breaking his foot last November, and under Turner, he could have a transformational effect on the Vikings' offense.