Vikings Kyle Rudolph could mean more Bears woes defending the TE

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Kyle Rudolph

Add Kyle Rudolph to the list of tight ends that could burn the Chicago Bears this season.

The Notre Dame product participated in full during the Minnesota Vikings’ practice on Thursday. He is returning from sports hernia surgery and would improve an inconsistent Minnesota passing offense. For Chicago Bears fans, the last thing they want to see is a promising rookie quarterback getting back a weapon that compliments his skill set.

Teddy Bridgewater has been thrust into the starting quarterback role in Minnesota. Matt Cassel was supposed to help ease the Louisville product into the role over the next two years, but a foot injury ended Cassel’s season. Bridgewater does not have the tightest grasp of the Air Coryell system that the Vikings run, but offensive coordinator Norv Turner has given the rookie a fighting chance to succeed this season.

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In an offense predicated on spreading out the opposing defense, having a legitimate pass-catching tight end can only help Bridgewater. Teddy also possesses average arm strength and so-so accuracy. Kyle Rudolph getting open five to fifteen yards down field could give his young QB a confidence boost. Bridgewater is also starting to find his tight ends more often. Chase Ford and Rhett Ellison, Rudolph’s replacements to this point, have combined for 15 receptions, 157 yards and one touchdown over the past two games.

The Chicago Bears have been a tight end’s best friend this season.

The defense has given up nine touchdowns to opposing tight ends in as many games entering Sunday’s matchup against Minnesota. Rob Gronkowski caught three prior to Chicago’s bye week, and the fearsome duo of Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick combined for two last week during Green Bay’s pounding of Chicago. Miami’s Charles Clay had his second best game in a disappointing season versus the Bears.

Sensing a pattern?

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There is no guarantee that Kyle Rudolph plays, and if he does, there is also no assurance that he plays the majority of snaps for the Minnesota Vikings. That being said, there is no reason to assume that the Chicago Bears are in a position to give anyone hope. Kyle Rudolph could be one of the larger reasons fans of Chicago turn off the game early.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

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